United Health Foundation and the Medical College of Wisconsin are launching a program to ensure childbearing women have access to specialty perinatal psychiatric and substance abuse consultation in the Milwaukee area. (L-R) Dustin Hinton, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin, Becky Schroeder, co-founder, Moms Mental Health Initiative, Dr. Christina Wichman, associate professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Donna Davidoff, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, State Sen. Alberta Darling, 8th Senate District, and Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO, Medical College of Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of John-Paul Greco)
In Wisconsin, with its 65,556 square miles of diverse rural farmlands and urban sprawl, there are only four self-identified perinatal psychiatrists, yet 66,000 babies are born in the state each year. Therefore, it is essential that primary care physicians are trained to recognize and diagnose postpartum depression and anxiety at the onset – ensuring each patient is treated for their individual symptoms, without defaulting to a one-size-fits-all approach.
To guarantee that Milwaukee's primary care providers are equipped to help mothers in need and fill this critical gap in care, the Medical College of Wisconsin has launched a teleconsulting program focused on care coordination for psychiatric and behavioral health conditions. These services are available to women who are pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, or require care between pregnancies.
Funded through a $1.2 million United Health Foundation grant, The PERISCOPE (Perinatal Specialty Consult Psychiatry Extension) Project will provide immediate, real-time peer-to-peer teleconsultation services to more than 350 primary care providers across Milwaukee. Using a partnership approach, the project is led by a multi-disciplinary team focused on collaboration and the sharing of best practices for care and treatment of perinatal women. Partnerships like PERISCOPE can help bridge the critical gap in perinatal care in Milwaukee and support new and expectant moms, ensuring their health and wellness are nurtured from day one.