Last week, the Administration announced a number of actions related to mental health with a focus on maternal health as well as parity in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Here’s a readout of the latest actions:
Maternal Health Funding: HHS announced awards of more than $103 million to support and expand access to maternal health. Funding includes $90 million through various HRSA programs to expand access to maternal health care (including $8 million to support maternal mental health and substance use disorder programs) as well as $13 million in grants to organizations in support of the HHS Office of Minority Health’s Healthy Families Community-Based Perinatal Health Initiative to improve access to community-based maternal support services for pregnant and postpartum people. A full list of HRSA awardees can be found here and Office of Minority Health grantees here.
Task Force on Maternal Mental Health: Alongside the funding announcements, HHS also announced the first convening of its Task Force on Maternal Mental Health. Mandated as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, the Task Force is tasked with identifying, evaluating and making recommendations to coordinate and improve federal activities related to addressing maternal mental health conditions. As part of its duties, the Task Force must prepare and regularly update reports that analyze and evaluate the state of maternal mental health programs at the federal level and identify best practices with respect to maternal mental heath and co-occurring substance use disorders as well as develop and regularly update a national strategy for maternal mental health taking into account the findings of the reports. The first report is due within a year of the Task Force’s first meeting (i.e., September 2024) with the national strategy due no later than a year after that (i.e., September 2025).
Public Education Campaign on Postpartum Depression: The Office on Women’s Health announced the launch of a national education campaign, Talking Postpartum Depression. The campaign features personal stories and is aimed at increasing awareness of postpartum depression symptoms and related resources.
Request for Comment on Parity Compliance in Medicaid and CHIP: In a separate move, also last week, the Centers for Medicaid and CHIP Services announced it is seeking comments on processes for assessing compliance with Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity in Medicaid and CHIP. The request lays out the important role Medicaid and CHIP play in meeting the mental health needs of individuals, including children and youth, describes current requirements and processes for assessing compliance in Medicaid and CHIP, and concludes with a list of questions for comment related to compliance processes for Medicaid and CHIP parity. Comments are due by December 4th, 2023 under the request.