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Report offers an in-depth examination of health centers' role in family planning
Date:3/7/2013

unity Health Foundation, stated, "Community health centers play a key role in delivering primary care, and family planning services always have been a core primary care service. Strengthening capacity and performance is essential."

The nationwide health center survey presented in the analysis finds that 87% of all health centers provide what the analysis defines as a "typical" package of family planning methods, defined by the authors as birth control pills plus one other contraceptive method such as condoms, implants, or IUDs, along with sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment. The study also documents wide variation in scope and quality of care and reports that half of all health centers lack the current ability to dispense birth control pills on-site despite their high effectiveness and low cost. Among the report's other key findings:

  • Family planning services are more likely to be comprehensive at larger health centers operating in urban/suburban neighborhoods as well as those in Western states.
  • Title X participation is the single strongest predictor of health center performance and on-site access to care including counseling and education and an array of contraceptive methods. An estimated 26% of all health centers participate in Title X.
  • The most comprehensive health center family planning programs tend to be located in states with more generous Medicaid adult coverage levels as well as policy environments that support women's health.
  • Health centers face significant barriers in building the scope and quality of any specific set of services, including family planning, as a result of the extensive community poverty and the competing demands of patients along the full spectrum of age and need. This reality emphasizes the importance of additional sources of access, such as that furnished through independent clinics funded under the Title X program.

To access the report, "Health Centers and
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University
Source:Eurekalert

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