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California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative announces first adopters of new recommendations

May 15, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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The California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, a non-profit organization committed to increasing and improving maternal mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment, has announced that Cigna is the first health service company to adopt the 2020 Mom Project's Health Insurer recommendations. Cigna covers 12.6 million people throughout the U.S.

In addition, both the Henry May Newhall and NorthShore University HealthSystem agreed to be the first hospitals to adopt its Hospital recommendations. The announcement was made on the heels of the official launch of the 2020 Mom Project in conjunction with National Women's Health Week, May 12 through 18, 2013.

"For many new moms and moms-to-be, depression and other mood disorders make it difficult to feel the joy of motherhood," said Doug Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Cigna's behavioral health unit. "At Cigna, we understand that a mother's emotional health is just as important as her physical health, which is why we're proud to support the 2020 Moms Project as an adopter of its Health Insurer Recommendations. Increased depression screening for pregnant women and new moms, and better access to appropriate mental health care for moms with mood and anxiety disorders, are essential to creating happy, healthy families."

"NorthShore University HealthSystem has long been committed to supporting and improving maternal mental health and is proud to adopt the 2020 Mom Project recommendations for hospitals," said Richard Silver, M.D., Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NorthShore and Associate Dean, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. "NorthShore firmly believes that the well-being of a family is dependent on all facets of a mother's health and is dedicated to fostering positive outcomes for families by improving maternal mental health."

Any insurer or hospital can adopt the recommendations by reviewing the guidelines and signing an online agreement including the date they will complete implementation. This information is then available for anyone to search online. The recommendations will be updated each year and adopters can choose to adopt the latest, more stringent recommendations, or an earlier version. 

"It is our hope that by involving stakeholders, such as hospitals and health insurers, that we will realize significant change in the systems used to inform and treat pregnant women and new mothers so fewer will have to suffer from maternal mental health disorders," said Joy Burkhard, project director of the 2020 Mom Project.

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