Erie, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead and leadership and staff from the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Women’s Behavioral Health at Saint Vincent Hospital today celebrated the extension of Medicaid postpartum coverage for mothers and men who gave birth qualified because of their pregnancy.
Effective April 1, 2022, under the American Rescue Plan Act and for select states, the Medicaid postpartum coverage period is extended for mothers and people who have given birth who are eligible for the program because of their pregnancy to one year after at the birth of a child. . Previously, Medicaid – or Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania – provided coverage for people who qualified because of their pregnancy for just 60 days after giving birth.
“Childbirth has tangible physical, mental, and emotional effects that last for more than 60 days. By ensuring that mothers and people who give birth have the care they need, we are putting them, their children, and their families on a path to good health and well-being, ”said Acting Secretary Snead. “Investing in mother-child health is an investment in the quality of life and individual potential of parents, children, and families. During a time where reproductive health care is under threat, these are potentially life-saving changes that this Medicaid postpartum coverage extension for parents and children across the commonwealth represents the work needed to give value to life and help people live healthy and well, as that they deserve. ”
Extending postpartum coverage for Medicaid members will provide and continue to provide health care by allowing birth parents to maintain relationships and access to care providers without being disrupted by a critical time in the life of a mother and their children.
AHN Saint Vincent has launched the region’s first Intensive Outpatient Program for women suffering from pregnancy-related depression, a condition that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers. The new program brings AHN Saint Vincent mothers three times a week for three-hour therapy sessions and group discussions, as well as activities to strengthen the mother-to-mother relationship. -child which includes perinatal yoga, baby massage, baby sign language, and baby development. Women will also receive one-on-one individual therapy once a week and see a psychiatrist once a week.
“Extending the length of time that women need to get the postpartum care they need, finding their balance and charting a healthy start in life for their child is truly an important step. investing in Pennsylvania families, ”said Drs. Sarah Homitsky, Medical Director for AHN Women’s Behavioral Health.
Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has prioritized expanding access to health care and support services for parents through pregnancy and postpartum periods and providing children with a strong, healthy initiation that can lead to continued health, wellness, and positive outcomes in their lives. .
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that maternal mortality rates increased between 2019 and 2020, and that black women are nearly three times more likely to die than white women after giving birth.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health released a report in 2020 that analyzed 457 deaths that occurred in Pennsylvania from 2013-2018 and determined to be pregnancy-related, defined as deaths that occurred during pregnancy or during a years after pregnancy. According to the report, pregnancy-related deaths in Pennsylvania grew by more than 20 percent during that time, and Pennsylvania also followed national trends in higher maternal mortality among Black women and men. women whose births are covered by Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid postpartum care is also a recommendation in the 2021 Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Report.
Medicaid covers 4 out of 10 births in the nation and about 3 out of 10 in Pennsylvania. Medicaid is the leading payer in Pennsylvania for about 53 percent of pregnancy-related deaths and nearly 60 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths occur between six weeks and one year after delivery, most outside the previous 60 -day coverage limit. By expanding the length of postpartum coverage, Pennsylvania seeks to improve the quality and outcomes of care and potentially save lives.
More information on the postpartum Medicaid extension, and DHS ’maternal-child health programs available throughout Pennsylvania is online here.
To learn more and apply for Medical Assistance and other assistance programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.dhs.pa.gov/compass.
For more information on the AHN Women’s Behavioral Health program in Saint Vincent, call 814-452-6558.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina – [email protected]