Week 13: Implications of Healthcare Financing & Strategies for Innovation

The dollar sign, AKA… The bottom line. How much does it cost? Is the financial risk worth the reward?


Realistically, advocating for policy change not only takes time, it costs money. To implement policy, thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars are needed to successfully execute structured projects and proposals. For this reason, it is important that we discuss the cost of healthcare financing in regard to PPD.

Postpartum depression can be expensive to treat. But isn’t any disease, illness, disability, or complication? It may be more meaningful to look at the cost of not treating and understand what it would cost to not treat.

One group of researchers compared the associated costs of screening and treating to standard of care, not screening. What these researchers found was that screening and treating mothers with perinatal mood disorders resulted more healthy women in two years and was considerably less expensive than standard of care (Wilkinson, Anderson, & Wheeler, 2017). Another high-quality study evaluated the cost of mother-infant dyads who were untreated for PPD 5 years after giving birth from the year 2017. These researchers found that an estimated, collaborative cost is $14.2 billion for all untreated dyads (Luca, Garlow, Staatz, Margiotta, & Zivin, 2019). These results are of astronomical importance and suggest screening and treatment ought to be issued into practice at a much larger scale than what it is currently being done.

“While sustainability is an essential concept to ensure the future of humanity and the integrity of the resources and ecosystems on which we depend, identifying a comprehensive yet realistic way to assess and enhance sustainability may be one of the most difficult challenges of our time.”- Little, hester, & Carey, 2016

            In order to enhance sustainability of screening and treating for PPD in community settings, healthcare professionals must remain involved in the process. Sustainability is enhanced when members are included in the design process and thoroughly understand the reasons behind why the process is being conducted and the benefits that are expected to result. You must obtain “buy-in”. It is an essential piece of ongoing success. This can be done through advocacy, campaigns, and spreading awareness via media outlets. Educating the community might possibly be the most pertinent piece of this puzzle. Those who understand reasoning behind their actions gain more ground and produce positive effects on a much larger scale than those who don’t.


Little, J. C., Hester, E. T., & Carey, C. C. (2016). Assessing and enhancing environmental sustainability: A conceptual review. Environmental Science & Technology, 50(13), 6830-6845. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b00298

Luca, D. L., Garlow, N., Staatz, C., Margiotta, C., & Zivin, K. (2019). Societal costs of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in the United States. Mathematica Policy Research. Retrieved from https://www.mathematica.org/our-publications-and-findings/publications/societal-costs-of-untreated-perinatal-mood-and-anxiety-disorders-in-the-united-states

Wilkinson, A., Anderson, S., & Wheeler, S. B. (2017). Screening for and treating postpartum depression and psychosis: A cost-effectiveness analysis. Matern Child Health J., 21(4), 903-914. doi:10.1007/s10995-016-2192-9.

3 thoughts on “Week 13: Implications of Healthcare Financing & Strategies for Innovation

  1. Another important component of sustaining innovation for this topic is ongoing research. For postpartum depression there is quite a significant list of ongoing clinical trials at this time.1 The cost of continuous research can’t be ignored when developing financial strategies for dealing with medical conditions. Most often, research like this is either funded through hospital or academic institutions, many of which receive grants through federal or state governments. Efforts at sustaining innovation for postpartum depression would fail to reach optimal effectiveness without the screening, diagnostic, and treatment techniques developed during clinical studies.
    WCG CenterWatch. (n.d.). Post-partum depression clinical trials. https://www.centerwatch.com/clinical-trials/listings/condition/367/post-partum-depression/


  2. Working as a postpartum nurse and as a women’s health nurse practitioner student I have too often seen women suffering from perinatal mood disorders. I have witnessed the struggle they go through trying to navigate managing their emotions, mood, work, house and family all while caring for the new baby. I commend you for drawing attention to this important topic this semester. I focused on maternal mortality this semester and saw so many connections between perinatal mood disorders and maternal morbidity and mortality. It is alarming that 1 in 7 pregnant and postpartum women in the U.S. are affected by perinatal and mood disorders and that low-income women suffer at 40 to 60% higher rates (Clark, 2019). I discussed the expansion of Medicaid coverage during the postpartum period and this is definitely something that would also benefit maternal mental health. Another benefit that I just learned about is that multiple states allow pediatricians to screen mothers for depression during their child’s well visit in the first year and bill the child’s Medicaid coverage (Clark, 2019). This coverage benefit will help to identify more women experiencing postpartum mood disorders, ultimately lowering the cost burden. You are right, healthcare providers must actively advocate for their patients to receive regular screening and treatment as needed for the true changes to occur in policy and the overall healthcare system.

    Clark, M. (2019). Maternal depression costs society billions each year, new model finds. Georgetown University Health Policy Institute: Center for Children and Families. Retrieved from https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2019/05/31/maternal-depression-costs-society-billions-each-year-new-model-finds/


  3. Hi
    Thank you for such an informative blog and posting. I really appreciate you that you talked about the cost of not treating postpartum depression, it really gives me a new perspective of viewing the financial burden of disease. Postpartum depression is a common disease, and it affects 10-15% of adult mothers yearly (Anokye et al., 2018). As healthcare providers, we should provide screening to mothers because it is not only important to their health but also cost-effective.
    Anokye, R., Acheampong, E., Budu-Ainooson, A., Obeng, E. I., & Akwasi, A. G. (2018). Prevalence of postpartum depression and interventions utilized for its management. Annals of General Psychiatry, 17. doi: 10.1186/s12991-018-0188-0


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