HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) commends Pennsylvania’s intent to extend the postpartum coverage period for mothers eligible for Medicaid because of their pregnancy as a way to promote physical and mental health in new mothers, and subsequently, their babies.
On Thursday, leadership from the legislative Women’s Health Caucus, the Maternity Care Coalition and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network joined the Wolf Administration to announce the investment in physical and behavioral health care for new mothers and their babies.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby’s brain development can be adversely affected when a mother suffers from perinatal depression. Likewise, there is an increased risk of child abuse and neglect, which can have lifelong impacts on the child. It also significantly increases the cost and difficulty of providing medical care and social support services to both the baby and mother over time.
“It is critical for us to prioritize maternal mental and physical health. New mothers and their babies deserve the best chance at a healthy start, and strong mental health plays an integral role,” Sen. Bartolotta said. “That’s why I worked with Sen. Judy Schwank to sponsor legislation to add postpartum depression as an ‘at-risk category’ for early intervention screening and tracking under state law.”
With the passage of Senate Bill 200, if postpartum depression is detected, at-risk infants would be identified and connected to early intervention services and other services that are already in place to support healthy child development far earlier than they would be otherwise.
“While mothers often feel pressured to meet unhealthy and unrealistic standards of being a Super Mom, women need the support of those around them at home and in their communities. They need to know that programs free from any shame exist to help them if they are struggling. When they are in the depths of despair, we need to lift them up,” Sen. Bartolotta said.
Senate Bill 200 has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration.
CONTACT: Colleen Greer, 717-787-1463