The Ellen Story Commission on Postpartum Depression
A Massachusetts Special Legislative Commission
Chapter 313 of the Acts of 2010, as amended by St. 2015, c. 119, s. 22 and St. 2016, c. 350
(a) The department of public health may consult with health care providers, including, but not limited to, obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians and primary care providers, non-profits and health insurance carriers regarding postpartum depression to develop a culture of awareness, de-stigmatization and screening for perinatal depression so that residents of the commonwealth may be assured of the most effective and affordable provision of public health services possible. The department shall develop standards for measuring effective screening for postpartum depression using recognized clinical standards and best practices and shall make recommendations for health plan and health care provider data reporting. The department shall issue regulations that require providers and carriers to annually submit data on screening for postpartum depression. Following the receipt of the data, the commissioner of public health shall issue an annual summary of the activities related to screening for postpartum depression, including best practices and effective screening tools. The department shall annually file the summary with the commissioner of public health and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate not later than June 30; provided, however, that the first report is due not later than June 30, 2011.
(b) There is hereby established a special legislative commission, pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws, to be known as the Ellen Story commission on postpartum depression, to consist of 5 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be a member of the minority party appointed by the minority leader, 1 of whom shall serve as co-chair, 5 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be a member of the minority party appointed by the minority leader, 1 of whom shall serve as co-chair, the commissioner of the department of public health, the commissioner of the department of mental health, the commissioner of insurance, the commissioner of the department of children and families, the commissioner of early education and care, and the director of Medicaid, or their designees, all of whom shall serve as ex officio members, and 18 persons to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, 1 of whom shall be appointed jointly by the Massachusetts Midwives Association and the Massachusetts Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives who shall be a midwife licensed to practice in the commonwealth, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Nurses United for Responsible Services who shall be an advance practice psychiatric nurse, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners who shall be a nurse practitioner, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Psychological Association who shall be a psychologist, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the children’s behavioral health advisory council established in section 16Q of chapter 6A of the General Laws, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership or a managed care organization or managed care entity contracting with MassHealth, 5 of whom shall be representatives of the Massachusetts Medical Society appointed in consultation with their relevant specialty chapters, including a pediatrician, an obstetrician, a family physician, a psychiatrist and a child and adolescent psychiatrist, 1 of whom shall be a woman who has experienced postpartum depression, 1 of whom shall be a representative from a regionally-based nonprofit group currently serving women suffering from postpartum depression, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans and 3 of whom shall be representatives from commercial health insurance carriers or managed care organizations doing business in the commonwealth, is hereby established for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to postpartum depression, including, but not limited to: (i) an assessment of current research on the subject and whether there exist evidence-based, best or promising practices on the prevention, detection or treatment of postpartum depression; (ii) a review of current policies and practices with respect to screenings for postpartum depression, including the frequency and location of screenings and training personnel administering the screenings, the availability of reimbursement and issues relative to medical necessity and third-party coverage; (iii) provision of assistance to the department of public health, other state agencies and organizations in the development of professional and public educational materials and programs on postpartum depression, in the development of referral lists for postpartum depression treatment, building on existing resources and in the designation of authorized validated screening tools; (iv) provision of assistance to the department of public health, other state agencies and organizations relative to applications for federal funding to support efforts consistent with the mission and purpose of the commission; and (v) any other matters that the commission considers relevant to the fulfillment of its mission and purpose. The co-chairs of the commission may each appoint up to 3 additional commission members to fulfill the purpose of the commission.
(c) Said commission shall provide guidance and advice to the governor, the general court and the secretary of health and human services relative to current research on postpartum depression including, but not limited to, best and promising practices in the prevention, detection and treatment of postpartum depression and recommend policies, including legislation, to promote greater public awareness, screening and treatment of postpartum depression. The special commission may conduct public hearings, forums or meetings to gather information and to raise awareness of postpartum depression, including the sponsorship of or participation in statewide or regional conferences.
(d) Said commission shall file an annual report at the end of each state fiscal year with the governor and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, who shall forward the same to the joint committee on public health and the joint committee on financial services, along with recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry those recommendations into effect. The special commission may file such interim reports and recommendations as it considers appropriate.