Task Force recommends screening all adults for depression

AHA News Now

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force yesterday issued a final recommendation that all people 18 and older, including women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, be screened for depression. “Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and appropriate follow up,” the panel said. It assigned a "B" grade to the recommendation, meaning all copays and deductibles for the screenings would be waived under the Affordable Care Act. The announcement updates a 2009 task force recommendation that called for screening all adults when staff-assisted depression care supports are in place, and selective screening based on professional judgment and patient preference when such support is not available. The authors said the update recognizes that such support is now much more widely available and accepted in mental health care. In an AHASTAT blog post, AHA Chief Medical Officer John Combes, M.D., said the new recommendation will help patients and communities. “Hospitals see first-hand the heavy toll that untreated, serious mental illness imposes on patients, families and communities,” Combes said. “That’s why helping hospitals apply the best available science to treat all of the needs of their patients is a key part of the AHA’s behavioral health initiative.”

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: physicians, Behavioral health, prevention

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