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Overview of the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative

On March 1, 2016, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) launched the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI). Through this five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), ACOG is engaging a coalition of national health professional organizations and consumer and patient advocates with expertise in women’s health across the lifespan to develop, review, and update recommendations for women’s preventive healthcare services, including HRSA-sponsored Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. The recommendations, if adopted by HRSA, will help ensure that women receive a comprehensive set of preventive services without having to pay a co-payment, co-insurance or deductible.

Background and History

In 2011, HRSA worked with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly known as the Institutes of Medicine (IOM)) to develop the initial Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. Established with the aim of improving women’s health across the lifespan, and to complement, build upon, and fill gaps in existing guidelines provided by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), Bright Futures, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), these guidelines on preventive health screenings and services guide clinicians in determining which services they should routinely offer to their patients. The guidelines now serve as the basis for insurance coverage at no cost-sharing to patients. The IOM’s initial eight preventive service recommendations, delineated in the final report, Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps, serve as the basis for WPSI work. These recommendations are further described in Chapter 5 of the IOM’s final report.

The IOM recommended reviewing and updating the guidelines at least every five years.  To support that goal, HRSA awarded ACOG a five-year cooperative agreement to design and facilitate a collaborative process to review and recommend updates to the current HRSA-supported Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines.  In support of this effort, ACOG is convening a coalition of national health professional organizations representing providers, patients, and academics to conduct a rigorous review of the current scientific evidence and recommend updates to the existing guidelines.  This approach is similar to the cooperative agreement HRSA has in place with the American Academy of Pediatrics for the development and updating of the Bright Futures guidelines for well-child and adolescent care.

IOM’s Eight Preventive Service Recommendations

  • Well-Woman Visits
  • Gestational Diabetes Screening
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Testing
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Counseling
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Screening and Counseling
  • Contraception and Contraceptive Counseling
  • Breastfeeding Support, Supplies, and Counseling
  • Interpersonal and Domestic Violence Screening and Counseling

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