ACTION ALERT: Support holding health plans accountable for perinatal depression screening and referral – last weekend of action

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: March 8, 2019

We need your help speaking up to help new mothers experiencing depression get the services they need to be healthy.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is proposing to add two new measures to the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). HEDIS measures are used to monitor and regulate the quality of health insurance plans and health care delivery across the country, including in private health plans and in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) plans. The number of measures related to maternal health care quality currently included in the data set is limited. NCQA is proposing to add two measures related to perinatal depression screening and referral to needed services to the data set. One measure requires screening and referral in the prenatal period and one requires screening and referral in the postpartum period. Please help support this effort! Submit a comment in support of these two measures by THIS MONDAY March 11, 2019!

Tips for writing your comments can be found here. And tips for how to submit your comments can be found here. Write comments in your own words, sharing your knowledge, experiences and your passion for improving care for moms and babies. Comments should be short and to-the-point and may not exceed 2,500 characters. Touch on one or more of these criteria identified by NCQA for new measures:

  • Clinically important: The measure rates something all stakeholders care about.
  • Evidence-based: There is strong consensus on the evidence for what we are measuring.
  • Transparent: The measure is clear about what we are measuring, why and how.
  • Feasible, Valid, and Reliable: The measure requires reasonable effort to get accurate data.
  • Actionable: The measure shows meaningful quality differences that providers can address.
  • Rigorously Audited: Independent review can verify that the results are accurate

For example, “I support the inclusion of Prenatal and Postpartum Depression Screening and Follow-up Quality Measures in HEDIS. Given the dramatically increasing rate of maternal mortality in the United States, we need more data to be collected about the quality of the maternal health care that is delivered. Depression is the most common complication of pregnancy. In Colorado, behavioral health issues, including self-harm and accidental overdose, have become driving causes of maternal mortality. Measuring the receipt of depression screening and referral to appropriate services is a first step in addressing this complication and improving maternal health care in the United States. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend pregnancy-related depression screening and appropriate follow-up.  [Share your personal story about how pregnancy-related depression impacted you, your family, or friends.] This measure is clear and can lead to immediate improvements in our health care system for our pregnant people and new moms. I urge you to adopt these measures into HEDIS.”

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.