Cost Savings from Expanding Vermont's Perinatal Psychiatric Consultation Service
- As of June 2023, Vermont had a 0.4 full-time equivalent (FTE) psychiatric consultant and no liaison coordinator. With this level of staffing, we projected that Vermont would save about $400,000 over two years by providing diagnostic and therapeutic guidance to providers.
- Expanding this service to 0.75 FTE staffing for both the consultant and liaison coordinator could increase the cost savings to more than $1.3 million over two years by expanding the capacity to serve more providers and patients across the state.
- The consultation service saves $3 for every $1 spent on the program.
The prevalence of mental health conditions during and up to twelve months after pregnancy (i.e., perinatal) has substantially increased in recent years, reaching over one in four pregnant and postpartum individuals in Vermont. The Vermont Department of Health developed a perinatal psychiatric consultation service to help obstetricians, midwives, and primary care providers provide patients with the optimal treatment for their needs. We developed a model to calculate the expected societal cost savings of expanding the program over two years. At 0.75 FTE consultant and 0.75 FTE liaison, we projected the perinatal psychiatric consultation service would have 268 provider encounters. Of these encounters, 195 additional patients would receive treatment or medication adjustments, and 92 would achieve remission. These programmatic changes would yield $1.3 million in societal cost savings in Vermont, or $4 per every $1 spent on the consultant and liaison salary over a two-year period. Expanding an existing perinatal psychiatric consultation service would result in cost savings for the individual and the state.