YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — WellSpan Health York is one of 16 hospitals participating in an enhanced screen process, as part of a partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. The goal is to improve care for patients dealing with depression during or after pregnancy.

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More than 5,500 expectant and new mothers are screened every year. According to the CDC, more than half of women with depression after pregnancy are undiagnosed and untreated.

According to Meg Snead, acting secretary at DHS, nearly 60% of pregnancy-associated deaths happen between 42 days and one year after giving birth. “Pennsylvania mothers deserve more which is why DHS is taking a close look at maternal health practices,” Snead said.

During their screening, if any signs of depression turn up, mothers are matched with resources. Such resources include WellSpan Philhaven’s mental health experts, Megan Lecas, senior vice president for service lines at WellSpan Health.

“Women alone should not have to be their own advocates for proper care. Health care providers must be focused on beyond what we’ve accepted as normal, and instead, look at how this normal can be challenging and traumatic for the new mother,” Snead said.

Secretary Snead, during the press conference, also said that the American Rescue Plan Act allows states to expand the Medicaid coverage period for new mothers from 60 days to one year following the birth of their babes. The postpartum expansion will go into effect in April 2022.