Begin Main Content Area
Media > DHS > Details

Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Joins Temple Health, Legislative Leaders to Discuss Ongoing Work, Opportunities to Support Maternal-Child Health

01/13/2022

Philadelphia, PA - The Department of Human Services (DHS) continues its focus on improving maternal health by holding a roundtable discussion alongside leadership from the Women’s Health Caucus and local legislators today at Temple Health’s new Temple Hospital for Women.

During today’s visit, DHS highlighted the Wolf Administration’s plans to extend postpartum coverage for birthing parents eligible for Medical Assistance due to their pregnancy and commitment to facilitate greater use of best practices to support the health system’s work to improve screenings, follow-up, and use of treatment for perinatal and postpartum depression.

“Pregnancy and the postpartum period are times of great joy and great change. With this change can come stress, fear, and anxiety that can fuel feelings of depression and isolation and invasive thoughts,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “Our health care systems and providers must be partners and advocates in birthing peoples’ health and well-being. The department is proud to be working closely with hospitals to develop and embed better perinatal depression screening, follow-up, and treatment practices as an important step to make this a foundational part of prenatal and postpartum care. I applaud Temple Health’s ongoing partnership and leadership in this space.”

Temple University Hospital is one of 16 hospitals participating in the enhanced screening process using the framework established by Pennsylvania’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative (PQC), a partnership led by DHS and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, focused on improving identification and care for patients experiencing perinatal depression during or after pregnancy.

The Temple Hospital for Women, which will open to patients in late 2022, will offer services focused on women’s health needs, including expanding the health system’s maternity care services. The campus will feature private rooms for mothers and babies and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit, as well as clinical space for 12 labor and delivery/high risk antepartum beds, 32 post-partum beds, eight ICU beds, triage and stabilization area, more than 75 exam rooms, plus radiology, mammography, MRI, and CT. In addition to pre- and post-partum care, the new hospital will offer specialty care for women, including interventional radiology, general surgery, breast surgery, urology, internal medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, and behavioral health.

“As demand for Temple’s excellent clinical services and exceptional outcomes reaches new highs, the opening of this hospital will expand access for our community,” said Michael A. Young, MHA, FACHE, President and CEO of Temple University Healthy System. “Temple University Hospital’s new campus is really a step in the right direction for women’s health, offering outstanding Temple services with more privacy and more space for mother and baby. Our vision is to provide superior advanced clinical care, support research, and provide new opportunities for education and innovation.”

According to a 2018 study published by the National Institute of Health, despite how common perinatal depression is, 80 percent of women who experience symptoms of depression and anxiety during a pregnancy or postpartum do not report these feelings to a health care provider. Disparities in rates of perinatal depression fall similarly to other health disparities, with lower income women and women of color reporting a higher prevalence of depression during and after pregnancy. Left untreated, perinatal depression can seriously impact daily and long-term health and wellbeing for mothers, can influence child development, and can lead to major depressive disorder and, potentially, death.

Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has prioritized expanding access to health care and supportive services that helps parents be supported through pregnancy and the postpartum period and gives children a strong, healthy start that can lead to continued health, well-being, and positive outcomes throughout their lives.

The Wolf Administration also announced last summer that Pennsylvania will opt-in to extended postpartum coverage for birthing parents covered through Medical Assistance due to their pregnancy. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states are able to extend the Medical Assistance postpartum coverage period from just 60 days to one year after giving birth. Data on maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2018 and 2019 show a growing trend of maternal deaths that is particularly concentrated among Black women as compared to Latinx and white women.

Expanding postpartum coverage for mothers covered through Medical Assistance will provide continuity and access to health care through a critical period in the mother’s life and a foundational time for the health and well-being of their children. The postpartum expansion will be available to states to take effect on April 1, 2022. Currently, individuals are not being disenrolled from Medical Assistance due to the federal public health emergency declaration. A formal declaration of intent to expand the postpartum coverage period will be submitted to the federal government once guidance is issued to states from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

To learn more DHS’ programs and apply for Medical Assistance and other assistance programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.dhs.pa.gov

MEDIA CONTACT: Brandon Cwalina - ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov

# # #


Share This