Dear Hospital Administrator Letter: Maternal Depression

March 17, 2015

Dear Administrator:

This letter is written to inform you about an amendment to the Public Health Law, Sections 2500-k, 2803-j and 2803-n regarding Maternal Depression which took effect February 4, 2015. Link to laws:

The laws requires the Maternity Information leaflet to include information about maternal depression, education, screening and referral.

The Maternity Information leaflet's language has been revised from "postpartum depression" to "maternal depression." The newly updated Maternity Information leaflet is now available on the Department's website at the following link: In addition, the booklet "Your Rights as a Hospital Patient" has also been updated to reflect the change in language at the following link:

Please note that the amendment requires that hospitals educate patients about maternal depression, screening and referral. It does not require hospitals to conduct maternal depression screenings on every patient. Information regarding maternal depression screening is available on the Department's link provided above.

If you have any questions, please call the Division of Hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers at (518) 402-1004.


Ruth Leslie
Division of Hospitals and Diagnostic &

Treatment Centers


Q&A for Amendment to Public Health Law, Sections 2500-k, 2800-j and 2800-n Maternal Depression

February 2015

Q1: Does this new law require hospitals to screen for maternal depression?

A1: No. The law requires that hospitals providing maternity care provide education on maternal depression, as well as education on maternal depression screening and referral.

Q2: Will the State provide hospitals with information on maternal depression screening guidelines, tools, and resources?

A2: Yes. The NYS Department of Health, in collaboration with the NYS Office of Mental Health, has updated the Department of Health's webpage on Maternal Depression to include information on:

  • The current evidence based and professional guidelines for maternal depression screening;
  • Validated, evidence-based tools for maternal depression screening; and
  • Information and follow-up support for patients including information about community resources.

Q3: Will the Maternity Information leaflet be available in other languages as required by the amendment?

A3: Yes. The Department of Health is currently translating the Maternity Information leaflet to the top seven (7) languages spoken in the state. Once translated, they will be posted to the Department's webpage.