Ellen Story, a Democratic state representative from Amherst, Mass., is working on a state bill that addresses postpartum depression. Through her research and meetings with leaders in women's health, Story found that all new mothers to be screened for PPD. While she received strong support and the legislation passed in 2010, it has hit some roadblocks along the way:
As the bill made its way through the legislative process, however, it was changed. The heart of the bill, universal screening, raised concerns for insurers and doctors. And funds for the bill's other provisions, such as public education, were nearly nonexistent. Fortunately, the law that passed does take important steps forward. It calls on the state Department of Public Health, a strong partner throughout the process, to issue regulations on best practices and data collection for screening. They are making excellent progress.
The law also created a diverse 34-person Commission, including health care providers, insurance representatives, survivors, legislators and state agency representatives, and many others, charged with advancing best practices in screening, referrals, treatment, and public and professional education.
Story is co-chairing this commission and we are eager to see the results. While mandatory screening might not have made it to the final legislation, we applaud the progress that is being made and give a big thanks to Story for tackling this important issue.