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Integrating Postpartum Depression Screening at Child Well Visits

May 21, 2020

To: All Primary Care, Pediatricians and OB/GYN

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the changes associated with a new baby may be especially overwhelming for some of your patients. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that postpartum depression (PPD) screening be conducted at child well visits every month for the first 6 months postpartum. While women do get screened 6-weeks postpartum with their OB-GYN, signs of PPD may not always be present at these appointments.

Jennifer Johengen-Vogel, MS, RN, Vice President, Health Management for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York states in Point of Health podcast episode “Understanding Postpartum Depression” PPD symptoms can take up to 6 months to develop.

It is important that your patients are aware of the symptoms of PPD and get routinely screened for any signs which include:

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Not bonding with baby
  • Feeling sad
  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt
  • Weight loss/gain


PPD screening can be billed using CPT code 96161. There is no limit on the number of times you can bill for this service within a given year, which means you can screen at each AAP recommended child well visit. This code can be billed along with the pediatric visit.

If you feel your patients may need additional support during this time, PPD screening for your BlueCross BlueShield patients can also be conducted by our care management team. Care managers will reach out and conduct PPD screening, like the Edinburgh questionnaire, over the phone. You can also advise your BlueCross BlueShield patients that they can receive telehealth services for PPD using their Telemedicine hosted by Doctor On Demand® benefit.

If you feel your patients would benefit from the additional support of care management, you can refer them by calling 1‑877‑878‑8785, option 2. 

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