COLUMBUS, Ohio — As of April 1, thousands of Ohio mothers can get extended postpartum care.
It's part of a Medicaid program that aims to provide long-term medical treatment to new mothers.
The new policy covers up to one year of postpartum care. It used to be 60 days of coverage.
Marian Dancy was diagnosed with a rare type of heart failure, six months after giving birth to her fourth child.
“I'm typically a healthy person. And nothing, I didn't get any answers. So finally, I was to the point where I couldn't walk to my bathroom, walking to the bathroom, a few feet away was a chore for me. I couldn't lift my daughter, who was six months old at the time,” she said.
After seeing a doctor and then a cardiologist, she got the diagnosis. She was in the hospital for two weeks. Fortunately today, she is OK.
Medicaid covers about 52% of births in Ohio.
Here's what will be covered under the new policy: Postpartum depression, substance use disorder and cardiac conditions.
Medical experts say this will Medicaid expansion will save lives.
“About 10 to 20% of people are going to have some sort of postpartum depression or other mental health issues that pops up related to pregnancy. Those issues aren't just in that first six weeks that are currently covered by the publicly funded health insurance, those issues can pop up at six months a year even beyond,” said Dr. Bretty Worly from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
“I look at postpartum and I think looking at one check a visit is the wrong way to look at it. It's really almost the fourth trimester, you can't have 13 visits with all the counseling and anticipatory guidance, then see somebody one time in a much more stressful situation than the first 13 times,” said Dr. Richard Marger, from OhioHealth. “So what this allows us to do is really follow through with that fourth trimester and looking at postpartum as a continuum and not a point in time as a checkup, you're fine. Because I think, you know, all of us realize it's more complicated than that.”