Today, I was made aware of this report [below] on the Disparities in Women’s Health Activities, esp. Preventive Services for Women. I suggest that you pass this report on to all in your community. America needs to demand better.–KAS
Yesterday, as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the independent, nonpartisan Institute of Medicine released a critically important report on preventive health care for women. This report recommends that important preventive services should be covered by health insurance at no out-of-pocket cost to women, including annual well-woman visits, contraception and other services The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reviewing these historic recommendations and is expected to act in the next few days to add these essential no-cost benefits to every new health plan.
Click here to sign the petition to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and declare your support for affordable preventive services for women.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover a list of preventive health services and provide these services with no out-of-pocket expenses. Services critical to women’s health should be on this list.
Adequate, affordable health insurance has been out of reach for many women, but now change is here. This is a long-awaited moment for women in America and yet another way to keep the promise of our new health care law.
NOTES ON THE REPORT
Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps
July 19, 2011
Biomedical and Health Research, Select Populations and Health
Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice
As a centerpiece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the focus on preventive services is a profound shift from a reactive system that primarily responds to acute problems and urgent needs to one that helps foster optimal health and well-being. The ACA addresses preventive services for both men and women of all ages, and women in particular stand to benefit from additional preventive health services. The inclusion of evidence-based screenings, counseling and procedures that address women’s greater need for services over the course of a lifetime may have a profound impact for individuals and the nation as a whole.
Given the magnitude of change, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services charged the IOM with reviewing what preventive services are important to women’s health and well-being and then recommending which of these should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. The IOM defined preventive health services as measures—including medications, procedures, devices, tests, education and counseling—shown to improve well-being, and/or decrease the likelihood or delay the onset of a targeted disease or condition. The IOM recommends that women’s preventive services include:
* improved screening for cervical cancer, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, and counseling and screening for HIV;
* a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes;
* services for pregnant women including screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment to help women who choose to breastfeed do so successfully;
* at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually for women to receive comprehensive services; and
* screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls for interpersonal and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner.