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WellPoint Launches and Expands Maternity Depression Program

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 General News J E 4
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INDIANAPOLIS, June 10 WellPoint, Inc., today announced thelaunch and expansion of the Maternity Depression Program, offered by itsaffiliated health plans, which provides new moms with depression screenings,education, and support to help them obtain behavioral health treatment duringand post-pregnancy.

The Maternity Depression Program is designed to provide information andscreening tools to all affiliated health plan members who are new or expectantmothers while simultaneously identifying members who are at high risk fordepression. Launched last year, it is currently available to members ofaffiliated health plans in California, Georgia, Colorado and Nevada and in thecentral region states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri. Theprogram will be introduced to all remaining members by the end of this year.

Additionally, because postpartum depression (PPD) is usually underdetectedand undertreated, the tool kits will be made available to OB/GYN practitionersand pediatricians. These "tool kits" include physician Continuing MedicalEducation course material, educational handouts for their patients, and samplescreening tools.

"The Maternity Depression Program provides new mothers, their familymembers and physicians with information and tools to identify women at riskfor postpartum depression. The physician can then evaluate the mother tobetter understand her concerns and behavioral changes or if there are signs ofsignificant depression," said Michael Brase, M.D., vice president and medicaldirector for WellPoint's behavioral health unit. "We developed provider toolkits as an enhancement to the Maternity Depression Program after conductingseveral focus groups with pediatricians, OB/GYNs, primary care physicians andwomen who have infants."

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

The Maternity Depression Program is just the latest initiative offered byWellPoint's affiliated health plans to help ensure healthy pregnancies anddeliveries for our members. Expectant mothers also have access to the FutureMoms program, which offers support from trained obstetrical nurses who arejust a phone call away. Future Moms is a component of 360 Degree Health(R), arobust benefits program to comprehensively address preventive care, healthimprovement and care coordination.

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

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medicalmembership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of theBlue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the BlueCross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee forColorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (asEmpire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 10 New York City metropolitan and surroundingcounties and as Empire Blue Cross or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in selectedupstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the city of Fairfax, thetown of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123), Wisconsin; and throughUniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available atwww.wellpoint.com .

SOURCE WellP
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