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Depression Management Series

Approximately 18.8 million Americans are affected by depressive disorders. By the year 2020 depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. In the older adult population depression is associated with suicide. Depression goes unrecognized and untreated. Up to 75 percent of older adults who die from suicide have visited a physician within one month before their death. Regrettably, healthcare professionals often mistake depression as a normal reaction to other illnesses or social hardships. Recognition and treatment of depression is vital in improving recovery and reducing its affect on other medical conditions. A collaborative approach to treating depression for healthcare professionals should include: understanding the illness, how it impacts the older adult and the cultural and social factors surrounding this illness. Additionally, healthcare professionals should be familiar with depression screening tools and treatment options. Utilizing this approach will place the older adult on the road to recovery and improve their ability to function normally.

This series of learning modules will cover topics such as: depression prevalence and risk factors; pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment approaches; caregiving and depression; cultural issues; and insurance access.

Module 7: Insurance Access for Depression Care


Doris Chechotka-McQuade, PhD, ACSW, LMSW
Lisa Mattei, MPAS, PA-C
Shawn Calkins, MSW Graduate Assistant
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS

Reena Antony, MPH, Christine Arenson, MD, Charles Brown, MSW, LCSW,
Nancy L. Chernett, MPH, Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, Leigh Ann Hewston, PT, MEd,
Christine Hsieh, MD, Barry W. Rovner, MD, Tracey Vause-Earland, MS, OTR/L

The Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center (EPaD GEC) is funded by the Department of Human and Health Services Grant #D31HP08834


Access to mental health benefits has proved to be a challenge for the older adult. Some older adults receive insurance through employer sponsored programs; while others receive insurance through public sponsored programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Specific challenges relating to access and mental health coverage include: inpatient services, the number of visits, drug coverage, transportation issues and other gaps.

This module examines the older adult's access to mental health care and insurance coverage provided to the older adult.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this module, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the main mental health insurance benefits through Medicare and Medicaid for treatment of depression.
  • Recognize the positive and negative impact of mental health insurance benefits on the access and outcome of treatment for depression.
  • Review the specific challenges of rural elderly in accessing and complying with mental health services for depression.
  • Incorporate the caregivers (family and friends) into accessing and complying with care for depressed older persons.
  • Develop an interprofessional plan of care through a case study.
Estimated time for completion: 30 minutes

Since this module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, it is designed to track your progress allowing you to complete the module in more than one sitting. This progress tracking feature requires that you use the same computer each time you return to work on the module.

Technical Requirements and Notes:

This learning module uses Adobe Flash media and may require you to add a browser "plug-in" in order to display properly. Most computers already have this free plug-in installed. But, if yours does not, it is very easy to download and install. Try the module first because the software is "smart" enough to detect the Flash player. If the module doesn't begin, you will be automatically prompted to download the plug-in.

The module contains links to external websites which will open in a new browser window. Your browser's back button will not return to the module, so these new windows should be closed.

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