Great news for women's health yesterday! We’ve been looking forward to seeing the Institute of Medicine’s report, Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gap, and we weren’t disappointed. The IOM committee recommends that the government should add “the full range of Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity” to the list of preventive health services that are exempt from co-pays or deductibles. The committee also recommends that other important services be included, including breast feeding support and supplies, screening for domestic violence, and counseling about sexually transmitted infections. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is expected to announce the government’s decision any day now.
The National Women’s Health Network’s Executive Director, Cindy Pearson, testified before the IOM committee at its first meeting last fall and told the committee members that women’s health is more than just looking for disease, and that preventive services, including contraception, help women maintain their health. We’re delighted that the committee not only listened to us, but they backed up our wisdom with solid science. The report confirms that because of gaps in the current guidelines for insurance coverage of preventive services, women suffer disproportionate rates of chronic disease and disability. The addition of the services recommended by the IOM will not only be good for women’s health but also good for women’s pocketbooks, as many families are struggling in these tough economic times.
Yesterday marked an important step toward the achievement of a long-time goal of women’s health advocates. We’re now within sight of an exciting and long-awaited victory. If you haven’t yet signed our petition to Secretary Sebelius demonstrating support for this critical policy change, do it today. But don’t stop there -- now we must redouble our efforts to ensure that she adopts these recommendations in full.
Please make a contribution in honor of Kathleen Sebelius and the National Women's Health Network will send a message to Secretary Sebelius on your behalf urging her to endorse some of the most significant recommendations affecting health care reform for women in recent history. Raise your voice with the National Women’s Health Network and stand strong with Secretary Sebelius today!
To learn more about the new recommendations, click here to obtain copies of the full report available on the IOM website.
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