Kaiser Health News Original Stories

Public Health And Education

3. Doctors Should Screen All Adults For Depression, Task Force Urges

The new guidance calls for specific attention to pregnant women and new mothers.

The Associated Press: Task Force Urges Doctors To Screen All Adults For Depression
All adults, including pregnant women and new mothers, should be screened for depression as a routine part of health care, a government advisory group recommended Tuesday. Depression is a common public health problem, and screening simply involves health workers asking about certain symptoms even if patients don't mention them. (1/26)

The New York Times: Panel Calls For Depression Screenings During And After Pregnancy
The recommendation, expected to galvanize many more health providers to provide screening, comes in the wake of new evidence that maternal mental illness is more common than previously thought; that many cases of what has been called postpartum depression actually start during pregnancy; and that left untreated, these mood disorders can be detrimental to the well-being of children. (Belluck, 1/26)

USA Today: Task Force: Doctors Should Screen All Adults For Depression
Primary care doctors should screen all adults for depression, an expert panel recommended Tuesday. The task force for the first time said screening benefits specific groups, including older adults, pregnant women and new mothers. In the past, there wasn't strong enough evidence to weigh in on whether depression screening helps or hurts these groups. (Szabo, 1/26)

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Advisory Group Recommends Routine Depression Screening
The panel evaluated research from recent years and concluded that depression continues to be an important enough disease that it needs to be incorporated as part of primary care for all adults. It gave depression screening its “B” rating, meaning that there is a high certainty of a moderate benefit to be derived from screening—or a moderate certainty that the benefit is “moderate to substantial.” (Burton, 1/26)

Los Angeles Times: Federal Panel Recommends General Physicians Screen All Adults For Depression
The task force, which assesses the harms and benefits of screening programs and makes recommendations accordingly, said that screening pregnant and postpartum women for depression would have a "moderate net benefit." At the same time, the panel acknowledged that, given the small risk that treatment with antidepressants could harm a developing fetus, pregnant women with depression should be offered a "range of treatment options," including cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been found effective in relieving depressive symptoms. (Healy, 1/26)

Modern Healthcare: Task Force Urges Depression Screening For All U.S. Adults
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says the benefits of treatment, even medication that may affect fetuses, far outweigh any potential risks.The harm associated with screening adults and treating them with cognitive behavioral therapy is "small to none," the task force said in its final statement, posted this week in JAMA. The statement also calls for mental health specialists, primary-care providers and health systems to work collaboratively to manage depressive disorders. (Rice, 1/26)

NPR: Depression Screening Recommended For All Pregnant Women, New Mothers
Pregnant women and new mothers need more attention when it comes to screening for depression, according to recommendations issued Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. ... What's new this time is the special shout-out for pregnant women and new moms. They need special recognition, the task force says, because of evidence showing that they can be accurately diagnosed and successfully treated, and because untreated depression harms not only the mother, but her child as well. (Silberner, 1/26)

WBUR: Panel Recommends Depression Screening For Women During And After Pregnancy
Nancy Byatt, medical director at the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project for Moms (MCPAP for Moms) and an assistant professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology at UMass Medical School, said the new recommendations “are an incredibly important step to have depression care become a routine part of obstetrical care.” She added: “Depression in pregnancy is twice as common as diabetes in pregnancy and obstetric providers always screen for diabetes and they have a clear treatment plan. The goal [here] is that women are screened for depression [during pregnancy and postpartum] and they are assessed and treated and this becomes a routine part of care just like diabetes.” (Zimmerman, 1/26)

USA Today: NYC Doctors Group Has Been Screening For Depression For Three Years
A federal task force's recommendation that primary care doctors screen all adult patients for depression was surprising but a “very, very positive development," says Henry Chung, a psychiatrist who is chief medical officer at the Montefiore Health System's care management organization here. ... Montefiore has been linking depression screenings with primary care for the past three years through a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services innovation grant to fund integration of behavioral health into its primary care services. (O'Donnell, 1/26)

Women’s Health

4. Anti-Abortion Filmmakers' Sting Becomes First Amendment Legal Fracas

In Texas, authorities filed criminal charges against two filmmakers who took undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood. The indictment is viewed as the latest sign that the GOP campaign against the group over the film has run into trouble.

The Washington Post: Anti-Planned Parenthood Filmmakers To Turn Themselves In
One day after Texas authorities filed criminal charges against two antiabortion activists behind a series of undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood, the pair’s lawyer said they plan to leave California for Houston to turn themselves in. Murphy Klasing, the Houston lawyer representing Daleiden and Merritt, would not say when, exactly, the activists plan to visit the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which has issued warrants for their arrest. Both Daleiden and Merritt want to book travel plans swiftly, Klasing said. Once in Houston, he said, they will post bond and avoid jail time. (Paquette and Somashekhar, 1/26)

Reuters: Anti-Abortion Activists Had Fake ID's For Filming: Texas Court Papers
Two anti-abortion campaigners who secretly filmed a Planned Parenthood official discussing fetal tissue procurement used fake driver's licenses to enter the group's offices in the Houston area, court papers released in Texas on Tuesday said. Documents filed in Harris County court showed California driver's licenses for the pair when they were making the video - Daleiden used an ID in the name of Robert David Sarkis and Merritt posed as Susan Sarah Tennenbaum. The court papers said the pair unlawfully used a fake government record "with the intent to defraud or harm others." They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. (Herskovitz, 1/26)

The Wall Street Journal: Antiabortion Group Behind Planned Parenthood Videos Faces Challenges
The antiabortion group behind undercover videos that roiled Planned Parenthood Federation of America is facing multiple legal challenges over its own practices, complicating its campaign to portray the health organization as a lawbreaker. Issues the Irvine, Calif.-based group faces include a complaint to the Internal Revenue Service by a left-leaning legal watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and litigation by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. In addition, the California attorney general’s office has said it was reviewing whether the group broke any laws. (Armour and Frosch, 1/26)

The New York Times: Indictment Deals Blow To G.O.P. Over Planned Parenthood Battle
A grand jury’s indictment on Monday of two abortion opponents who covertly recorded Planned Parenthood officials is the latest, most startling sign that a Republican campaign against the group has run into trouble. In a dozen states including Texas, where the grand jury in Houston examined Planned Parenthood at the request of Republican officials but ended up indicting the opponents, various investigations have concluded without finding any wrongdoing by affiliates of the group. Eight states have declined to investigate since videos began surfacing in June alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. (Calmes, 1/26)

Health Law Issues And Implementation