Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin Expands Maternity Depression Program

Awareness campaign targets new mothers in need of support

MILWAUKEE, June 10 /PRNewswire/ — Motherhood is often characterized as a magical experience for women with only a fading reference to the “baby blues.” However, according to the National Mental Health Association, in the first three months after childbirth, 14.5 percent of women may become withdrawn, unresponsive, or exhibit negative behavior toward their infant. Mothers experiencing these conflicting feelings may be suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD) which once diagnosed can be treated.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin has expanded its Maternity Depression Program that provides new moms depression screenings, education, and support to help them obtain behavioral health treatment during and post-pregnancy.

The Maternity Depression Program is designed to provide information and screening tools to all Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members who are new mothers while simultaneously identifying members who are at high risk for depression. Since May 2007, Anthem has mailed more than 61,000 educational packets to new mothers. Additionally, because PPD is usually under detected and under treated, Anthem is now making tool kits available to Wisconsin OB/GYN practitioners and pediatricians. These “tool kits” include physician Continuing Medical Education course material, educational handouts for their patients, and sample screening tools.

“Through the Maternity Depression Program, Anthem provides new mothers, their family members and physicians with information and tools to identify mothers at risk for Post Partum Depression. The physician can then evaluate the mother to better understand her concerns and behavioral changes or if there are signs of significant depression,” said Michael Jaeger, M.D., Medical Director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin. “Additionally, the provider tool kits are an enhancement to our Maternity Depression program developed after conducting several focus groups with pediatricians, OB/GYNs, primary care physicians, family physicians and women who have infant children.”

Members who are identified as being at risk of PPD are encouraged to either share the results with their physician or contact a Behavioral Health Clinician for additional screening, referrals or coordination with providers. If a member needs extra support she can call to enroll in the program and the clinician will provide follow-up calls as necessary. Members can receive depression education, assistance in understanding their treatment options and support to obtain appropriate care. Behavioral Health staff can help to coordinate care with the member’s medical team. Routine follow-up is also provided until such time that the member is fully engaged in treatment.

The Maternity Depression Program is just the latest Anthem initiative to help ensure healthy pregnancies and deliveries for our members. Expectant mothers also have access to the Future Moms program, which offers support from trained obstetrical nurses who are just a phone call away. Future Moms is a component of Anthem’s 360 Degree Health(R), a robust benefits program to comprehensively address preventive care, health improvement and care coordination.

Anthem members wishing to obtain more information can call (866) 785-2789.

In Wisconsin, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name used by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin (“BCBSWi”) and Compcare Health Services Insurance Corporation (“Compcare”), independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. (R)ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin is available at

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Source: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin

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