Now that nearly a week has passed since the IOM recommendations on preventative care for women were released, and we’re done wondering if this is too-good-to-be-true, It’s now important for us to keep two different things in mind; firstly that unless these recommendations are acted upon by Kathleen Sibelius and HHS they’re just recommendations, and secondly that contraceptive coverage is only one recommendation amongst a vast sea of good news for women.
The Institute of Medicine went above and beyond closing the gap of preventative services for women in the Affordable Care Act – through their recommendations for women’s preventative care. In addition to the much talked about opening up of contraceptive coverage, the IOM’s recommendations could mean expansions in post-natal care for women, counseling for survivors of domestic violence, STI counseling, at least one well-women visit per year, and increased accessibility to screenings for HIV, HPV, and gestational diabetes.
These additional recommendations have the ability to help support women who might breastfeed the more than 70,000 babies that likely will be born next year, give stability and guidance to people in abusive relationships, 89% of whom are women, and provide counseling on STI management for the millions of sexually active women in Wisconsin.
Requiring these recommendations to be included as preventative care in all private health plans, including the Exchanges, means not only healthier women, but a more efficient, more cost effective, and more sustainable health care system. A common sense solution such as including breast pump rental in post-natal care can make the difference between a well-cared for or a poorly cared for child. In addition it gives women more control over their lives, allowing for a new mother to go back to work after having her child. The IOM’s recommendation clearly took to heart the fact that healthy women, mean healthy families, mean a healthy Wisconsin.