Expanded guidelines improve preventive care coverage for women’s health

Provider takes blood pressure of a woman in a sweater

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently announced that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has expanded preventive care and screening services for women. The guidelines updated five preventive services, added one additional service, and expanded existing services to be covered without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The new and updated guidelines include:

  • Breastfeeding services and supplies, including consultation and double electric breast pumps and storage supplies
  • Access to the full range of contraceptives and contraceptive care for adolescent and adult women
  • Counseling for sexually active adolescent and adult women at an increased risk of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Screening for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection for women 15 and older at least once during their lifetime
  • Obesity prevention counseling for midlife women (40-60 years) with normal or overweight body mass index (BMI)

“It is so meaningful when the research translates into important policies that provide essential health care coverage for women,” said Dr. Amy Cantor, M.D., M.P.H. FAAFP, a primary care physician at the Center for Women’s Health. Dr. Cantor serves as principal investigator for the OHSU Evidence Review Team.

The Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI) was established in 2016 as an agreement between American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and HRSA, to update the 2011 Institute of Medicine recommendations for preventive services for women. The WPSI includes many experts. They review topics to fill gaps in prevention guidelines for women. An OHSU team, in partnership with another institution, has conducted evidence reviews on behalf of the WPSI since 2016. They received a second, 5-year contract in 2021 to continue these efforts. Previous guidelines included screening for breast and cervical cancers, diabetes during and after pregnancy, interpersonal and domestic violence, urinary incontinence and anxiety.