Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Journal article] What the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Forgets to Tell Americans about How to Protect Their Sexual and Reproductive Health

What the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Forgets to Tell Americans about How to Protect Their Sexual and Reproductive Health 

From the January/February 2015 journal article abstract

If there is one thing that health care experts seem to agree on, it is the importance of preventive care. Anything that can help the American public to do a better job of understanding, accessing, and affording effective preventive care and thereby helping them to avoid potential threats to their health should be indisputably a good thing for individuals, families, and society.

Recommendations for the public about what preventive care services an individual might need at different points in his or her life can be one important tool in this tool box, and that goes double for recommendations that speak with the imprimatur of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). So, a series of fact sheets on “staying healthy” from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)—a branch of DHHS devoted to evidence-based improvements to the provision of U.S. health care—should be a welcome and valued resource (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2014a, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2014b).

In this light, it is disappointing to find the AHRQ fact sheets falling short of the mark in some critical ways related to their recommendations on sexual and reproductive health care. The four fact sheets—for women of all ages, women at age 50 and older, men of all ages, and men at age 50 and older—contain a wealth of good advice about screenings and preventive medicine that a patient might need. However, they leave out many effective sexual and reproductive health-related preventive services—perhaps most notably any mention of contraceptive services and supplies—that have been endorsed by other agencies in the DHHS and by the medical establishment more broadly, and that have been promoted through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirements for private health plans to cover preventive services without patient out-of-pocket costs (HealthCare.gov, 2014, Sonfield, 2012). The AHRQ fact sheets compound those oversights by seeming to imply that they embody the sum total of DHHS’s preventive care recommendations, when in reality they seem to be based almost exclusively on the recommendations of a single body, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Full text of the article here

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January 26, 2015 - Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , ,

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