The inclusion of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods and counseling and screening for HIV infection are among eight preventive health services for women that the Institute of Medicine recommends health plans cover at no cost to patients under the healthcare reform law.
IOM panel urges free contraception, HIV screening
HHS had asked the IOM to identify any gaps in preventive services for women—and also suggest services that could improve women's overall health—in the agency's list of preventive services that health plans should cover. In developing the recommendations, the IOM committee considered four questions: are high quality, systematic evidence reviews available that indicate the service is effective in women; are quality, peer-reviewed studies available that demonstrate effectiveness of the service in women; has the measure been identified as a federal priority to address in women's preventive services; and are there existing federal, state or international practices, professional guidelines or federal reimbursement policies that support using the measure.
The other recommendations include screening for gestational diabetes; human papillomavirus testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women older than 30; counseling on sexually transmitted infections; lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding; screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence; and annual “well woman” preventive-care visits to receive recommended preventive services.
“This report provides a road map for improving the health and well-being of women,” Dr. Linda Rosenstock, dean of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Public Health and chair of the committee, said in a news release. “The eight services we identified are necessary to support women's optimal health and well-being. Each recommendation stands on a foundation of evidence supporting its effectiveness.”
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