Mental Health

Depression Management Programs

Aetna announced today that it will pay for a depression management program in dozens of medical offices around the country. With the plan, Aetna will pay primary care docs additional fees to screen patients for depression and for follow-ups with patients on antidepressants or referred to psychiatrists or psychologists. The insurance company ultimately plans to pay for these programs nationwide.

Similarly, Kaiser Permanente has assigned a mental health aide to all of its salaried primary care docs in Northern California. A few other companies, including Caremark Rx, routinely screen patients with chronic conditions for depression.