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    Friday, April 28, 2006

    Dr. New Jersey: The New Jersey legislature has passed a law requiring doctors to screen and educate their patients for post-partum depression:

    The boldest move has come in New Jersey, where a first-of-its-kind law was signed this month requiring doctors to educate expectant mothers and their families about postpartum depression and to screen new moms for the condition.

    The rest of you depressed people are on your own.

    The Bioethics Blog wonders if the state plans to pay for the therapy. Good question. It leads to the bigger question of how a law like this will translate into real life. Imagine yourself a busy obstetrician, already beleagured by high malpractice premiums and decreasing insurance reimbursements that make it necessary for you to see more patients. Now, not only do you have to be worried about being sued for malpractice if you miss a case of post-partum depression; you also have to worry about criminal charges. After all, now there's a law on the book making it illegal not to check everyone and inform everyone about depression.

    Some doctors will just stop taking care of pregnant women. It will be the proverbial last straw for them. Others will just initiate a system for every pregnant woman that involves minimal doctor time. Something like an educational brochure given to every woman who walks in the door, and a check list of depressive symptoms. And what happens when there are some positive responses, such as "Have you been unhappy in the past six weeks?" They'll get placed on an anti-depressant. You bet. It's a boondoggle of a law for the makers of anti-depressants. But it probably will do little to improve healthcare.

    posted by Sydney on 4/28/2006 08:50:00 AM 4 comments


    I live and practice in New Jersey, and the state legislature continues to harass physicians with ridiculous laws like this, that look good on paper but do nothing for the patient, and certainly add to the misery of physicians. This is the same legislature that gave NJ docs mandatory training in cultural competency (no training = no license renewal), the ambulatory center tax that collects 3.5% of gross receipts of non-hospital owned surgicenters, and the 6% tax on elective cosmetic procedures. Some of us, such as myself, have also been audited by the state to prove that we actually earned the CME credits we said we did. What a great state, huh? NJ and doctors - not perfect together.

    By Blogger ismd, at 1:36 PM  

    it simple for OB, just refer everyone to get screen by psychaitrist when they come in for prenatal care

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:59 PM  

    Like you said, what happens when you get a positive response? Are you then responsible if they don't get treated and something happens?? Litigation is horrible out here! Cheers from The Nurse Practitioner's Place and Nurse Practitioner News

    By Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives, at 7:08 PM  


    By Blogger Smiley, at 8:30 PM  

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