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RANZCOG welcomes Medicare-funded mental health support for pregnant women

25 August 2017

Media Statement


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) welcomes the recent commitment by the Federal Government to support mental health screening of pregnant mothers. As of November 2017, mental health assessments will be Medicare-funded for women during pregnancy and up to two months after birth.

The announcement follows recommendations made by an expert taskforce, including RANZCOG members, appointed to examine the Medicare Benefits Schedule. RANZCOG President Professor Steve Robson says this is an absolute win for mothers and their babies and ensures that screening for postnatal depression occurs during the antenatal period. 

"I've said this before and I will say it again, healthy mothers are the key to healthy communities, and as an obstetrician who cares for women I am incredibly pleased that this recommendation has come to fruition."

"The Federal Government are to be congratulated for taking leadership in an area that will have meaningful and lasting impact upon mothers, their babies, their families, and the community as a whole."

Amendments have been made to three obstetric MBS items including the complex birth item and item numbers pertaining to planning and management. For the first time the complex birth item 16522, now includes clear and detailed references to important perinatal mental health conditions. A new obstetric MBS item has also been introduced to cover mental health assessment, screening for drug and alcohol use and domestic violence during the postnatal period.
 
These changes mean that women will now have access to medicare-funded mental health screening services from the antenatal period right through to the postnatal period.
 
For specialists:
 
To view a detailed description of the obstetric MBS changes, click here.


 



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