Tonight’s historic passage of Healthcare Reform also makes history for America’s mothers as language from The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act becomes LAW!!!
Finally, the plight of millions of American women, infants and families has been acknowledged and the tide forever turned! With this long sought federal mandate, states will find more support for PPD programs, researchers will find funding encouragement to continue their search for etiology and cure, and communities will harken to respond to this unmet need. Grants will be made available to fund a variety of entities and programs charged with caring for women suffering from postpartum depression.
There are no words to express our collective gratitude to the following individuals who began this march oh so long ago. Each step was filled with conviction, tears, controversy, guts, belief, outrage, setbacks and hope. And tonight, we can all begin to feel that at long last the doors and hearts of America are open to the maternal suffering that may no longer be silent and stigmatized.
To U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, you are an unwavering champion of the women and infants you represent. Against all odds, you never once set aside this initiative. You are not the Senator from New Jersey, you are the Senator of America’s mothers.
To NJ Senate President Richard Codey and the courageous Mary Jo – beloved by all for taking on the most difficult role of her life – with your example, your stigma busting campaign and your groundbreaking state legislation, you set the bar for our nation to follow. “Speak Up When You’re Down” she said. And women have not been silent since.
To Congressman Bobby L. Rush, who brought the House to its feet with near unanimous consensus and forceful leadership on this issue, your unfaltering crusade has led us to this moment. Without your work, your belief, our voices would still be murmurs of closeted shame. You are the change you sought, you live the life you lead others to believe in.
And to Carol Blocker, who has walked a million miles to share her story of incomprehensible heartache so that others might be spared excruciating loss, know that Melanie Blocker Stokes lives not only in the eyes of Somer Skyye, but in every program and community which will safeguard their mothers. We Thank God for Carol’s advocacy.
Each one of us is aligned with one or all of these heroes. Be it through motherhood, fatherhood, childhood, advocacy, organizational and individual support, a foundation born of tragedy, experience, research, blogging, writing, singing, creating, art, music, medicine, psychology, non profit leadership, endurance, courage, community action or voices in unison, you have all indeed made a life saving difference.
And for every mother and child lost to this illness…every square on Postpartum Support International’s Memory Quilt…. read each year by PSI’s Founder Jane Honikman…you are not forgotten and your life continues to infuse helping, caring spirit throughout the community of motherhood.
To every person who signed the petition, know that your signature was seen; that it carried weight. From Congressional offices to Qunnipiac pollsters, the petition was read and referenced again and again. You fearlessly listed your names, dared to make your stand known, and said, Enough is Enough. You have won. Thank you for your virtual presence, your letters, your phone calls, your support, your persistence.
Below is the language included in tonight’s Senate Bill which will now become law. Note that it does NOT mandate screening OR subsidize medication. The breadth and depth of the services encouraged and supported by its initiatives open the door to programs from concrete services to help new mothers, to education, public awareness and support, research and access to treatment.
When we began this journey, we did so with the acknowledgement that the experience of motherhood is apolitical, universal in its reach. Tonight, let that shared love and reverence reach above political differences and prevail in this celebration of life-saving victory for America’s mother, infants and families.
SEC. 2952. SUPPORT, EDUCATION, AND RESEARCH FOR
(a) RESEARCH ON POSTPARTUM CONDITIONS.—
(1) EXPANSION AND INTENSIFICATION OF ACTIVITIES.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services
(in this subsection and subsection (c) referred to as
the ‘‘Secretary’’) is encouraged to continue activities
on postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis
(in this subsection and subsection (c) referred to as
‘‘postpartum conditions’’), including research to expand the understanding of the causes of, and treatments for, postpartum conditions. Activities under this paragraph shall include conducting and supporting the following:
(A) Basic research concerning the etiology
and causes of the conditions.
(B) Epidemiological studies to address the
frequency and natural history of the conditions
and the differences among racial and ethnic
groups with respect to the conditions.
(C) The development of improved screening
and diagnostic techniques.
(D) Clinical research for the development
and evaluation of new treatments.
(E) Information and education programs
for health care professionals and the public,
which may include a coordinated national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of postpartum conditions. Activities under such a national campaign may—
(i) include public service announce
ments through television, radio, and other
(ii) focus on—
(I) raising awareness about
(II) educating new mothers and
their families about postpartum conditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment; and
(III) ensuring that such education
includes complete information concerning postpartum conditions, including its symptoms, methods of coping with the illness, and treatment resources.
(2) SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF RELATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONSEQUENCES FOR WOMEN OF RESOLVING A PREGNANCY.—
(A) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of
Congress that the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health may conduct a nationally representative longitudinal study (during the period of fiscal years 2010 through 2019) of the relative mental health consequences for women of resolving a pregnancy (intended and unintended) in various ways, including carrying the pregnancy to term and parenting the child, carrying the pregnancy to term and placing the child for adoption, miscarriage, and having an abortion. This study may assess the incidence, timing, magnitude, and duration of the immediate and long-term mental health consequences (positive or negative) of these pregnancy outcomes.
(B) REPORT.—Subject to the completion of
the study under subsection (a), beginning not
later than 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, and periodically thereafter for the duration of the study, such Director may prepare and submit to the Congress reports on the findings of the study.
(b) GRANTS TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS WITH A POSTPARTUM CONDITION AND THEIR FAMILIES.—
Title V of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.),as amended by section 2951, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
‘‘SEC. 512. SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS WITH A POSTPARTUM CONDITION AND THEIR FAMILIES.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—In addition to any other pay
ments made under this title to a State, the Secretary may make grants to eligible entities for projects for the establishment, operation, and coordination of effective and cost-efficient systems for the delivery of essential services to individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions and their families.
‘‘(b) CERTAIN ACTIVITIES.—To the extent practicable and appropriate, the Secretary shall ensure that projects funded under subsection (a) provide education and services
with respect to the diagnosis and management of postpartum conditions for individuals with or at risk for postpartum conditions and their families. The Secretary may allow such projects to include the following:
‘‘(1) Delivering or enhancing outpatient and
home-based health and support services, including case management and comprehensive treatment services.
‘‘(2) Delivering or enhancing inpatient care
management services that ensure the well-being of the mother and family and the future development of the infant.
‘‘(3) Improving the quality, availability, and or
ganization of health care and support services (including transportation services, attendant care, homemaker services, day or respite care, and providing counseling on financial assistance and insurance).
‘‘(4) Providing education about postpartum con
ditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment. Such education may include—
‘‘(A) providing complete information on
postpartum conditions, symptoms, methods of
coping with the illness, and treatment resources; and
‘‘(B) in the case of a grantee that is a State,
hospital, or birthing facility—
‘‘(i) providing education to new moth
ers and fathers, and other family members
as appropriate, concerning postpartum con24
ditions before new mothers leave the health
(ii) ensuring that training programs
regarding such education are carried out at the health facility.
‘‘(c) INTEGRATION WITH OTHER PROGRAMS.—To the extent practicable and appropriate, the Secretary may integrate the grant program under this section with other grant programs carried out by the Secretary, including the program under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act.
‘‘(d) REQUIREMENTS.—The Secretary shall establish requirements for grants made under this section that in clude a limit on the amount of grants funds that may be used for administration, accounting, reporting, or program oversight functions and a requirement for each eligible entity that receives a grant to submit, for each grant period, a report to the Secretary that describes how grant funds
were used during such period.
‘‘(e) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.—The Secretary may provide technical assistance to entities seeking a grant under this section in order to assist such entities in complying with the requirements of this section.
‘‘(f) APPLICATION OF OTHER PROVISIONS OF TITLE.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), the other provisions of this title shall not apply to a grant made under this section.
‘(2) EXCEPTIONS.—The following provisions of
this title shall apply to a grant made under this section to the same extent and in the same manner as such provisions apply to allotments made under section 502(c):
‘‘(A) Section 504(b)(6) (relating to prohibition on payments to excluded individuals and
‘(B) Section 504(c) (relating to the use of
funds for the purchase of technical assistance).
‘‘(C) Section 504(d) (relating to a limitation on administrative expenditures).
‘‘(D) Section 506 (relating to reports and
audits), but only to the extent determined by the Secretary to be appropriate for grants made
under this section.
‘‘(E) Section 507 (relating to penalties for
‘‘(F) Section 508 (relating to nondiscrimination).
‘‘(G) Section 509(a) (relating to the administration of the grant program).
‘‘(g) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
‘‘(1) The term ‘eligible entity’—
‘‘(A) means a public or nonprofit private
‘‘(B) includes a State or local government,
public-private partnership, recipient of a grant
under section 330H of the Public Health Service
Act (relating to the Healthy Start Initiative),
public or nonprofit private hospital, community based organization, hospice, ambulatory care facility, community health center, migrant health center, public housing primary care center, or homeless health center.
‘‘(2) The term ‘postpartum condition’ means
postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.’’.
(c) GENERAL PROVISIONS.—
(1) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—To
carry out this section and the amendment made by subsection (b), there are authorized to be appropriated, in addition to such other sums as may be available for such purpose—
(A) $3,000,000 for fiscal year 2010; and
(B) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
(2) REPORT BY THE SECRETARY.—
(A) STUDY.—The Secretary shall conduct a
study on the benefits of screening for postpartum conditions.
(B) REPORT.—Not later than 2 years after
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall complete the study required by sub paragraph (A) and submit a report to the Congress on the results of such study.