Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 608, aimed at supporting women, newborns and families in the first year after childbirth.
While current law provides full-scope Medi-Cal benefits for pregnant individuals for a full calendar year after pregnancy ends, it does not include perinatal services. AB 608 would extend the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program to be included in the Medi-Cal coverage for the full calendar year following pregnancy, whereas now additional assessments and care through CPSP are only covered for 60 days post-pregnancy.
“As a mother, I know that childbirth and parenting is unique to each family,” Schiavo said in a prepared statement. “However, without postpartum support, some challenges many parents face can lead to disruptions with the mental and physical well-being of parent or child.”
Schiavo added: “For example, it’s estimated that postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 parents after delivery. If unaddressed, this can lead to long-term behavioral health issues in children, and, in severe cases, suicide. More than four of every five people who die by suicide after the end of their pregnancy, died in the late postpartum period 43-365 days after birth.
“If extending CPSP into that first year after pregnancy can help treat postpartum depression and reduce the number of suicides, we should be doing everything we can to make these services easily accessible to more people.”
Mayra E. Alvarez, president of The Children’s Partnership, a statewide advocacy organization focused on child health, expressed support for the bill.
“There is no better place to make clear our commitment to advance health equity than with our newborn babies and their parents,” Alvarez said in the statement released by Schiavo’s office. “Taking care of our communities starts with a whole-child, whole-family approach like that in AB 608 — supporting a parent’s social needs as well as their medical needs for the first year of a baby’s life.”
In addition to standard obstetric services, the CPSP includes enhanced services in the areas of nutrition, psychosocial and health education, all of which can be life-changing for new moms, babies and their families, the statement said.