- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Media Contact for Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Awards $12 Million to Increase Access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception
Boston — The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) is increasing access for women throughout the Commonwealth to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) by awarding nearly $12 million to two community organizations. The funds will provide assistance to health care providers, both in the community and hospital settings, and better equip frontline staff to educate patients about their birth control options.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is strong in its commitment to women's health including access to affordable, reliable and safe contraceptive care,” said EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders. “These funds will ensure access to a variety of family planning options to best meet individual’s needs.”
Unplanned pregnancies are associated with a number of negative health outcomes, including delayed prenatal care, premature birth, low-birth weight, and other health complications; and can also take a significant physical and emotional toll on women. Despite progress to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies nationally, some groups are disproportionately affected. Unintended pregnancy rates per 1,000 women are highest among women age 18 to 24, African Americans, those with low incomes (<100% of the federal poverty level) and individuals who have not graduated from high school, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
LARCs, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants, are among the most effective methods of reversible birth control with high continued usage rates and patient satisfaction in preventing unintended pregnancies. However, LARC usage among the general population in the United States is relatively low. Only eight percent of U.S. women aged 15-44 report using LARCs, compared to nearly 16 percent who take a daily birth control pill.
To build awareness and educate providers and patients about LARCs, EOHHS is awarding five-year grants to:
- Boston Medical Center (BMC) will focus trainings and operational improvements of hospital-based health care providers throughout the state. BMC will also conduct a rigorous data collection and evaluation of its interventions impact. BMC is being awarded $678,000 in the first year and $642,000 for the following for years for a total of $3.2 million over five years.
- Upstream USA will bring its proven statewide training, technical assistance and education model of comprehensive contraceptive access, including LARC insertion and removal, to a broad range of health centers and other community-based providers throughout the state. Upstream USA will also collect data and conduct a quality improvement plan for each center it works with and design and implement a statewide consumer awareness campaign. Upstream USA is being awarded $1.7 million each year for a total of $8.7 million over five years.
“LARC in the immediate postpartum period, shortly after delivery while a mother is still in the hospital, is effective at reducing unplanned and rapid repeat pregnancies,” said MassHealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jill Morrow-Gorton. “On March 1, 2018, MassHealth began providing enhanced payments for the provision of LARC in the hospital immediately postpartum.”
The LARC grants build on progress by the Baker-Polito Administration to ensure continued access to contraception coverage for women in Massachusetts. Last November, Governor Baker signed an An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (ACCESS) which requires health insurers in Massachusetts to cover at least one form of each type (prescription, device, or product) of FDA-approved birth control without a copay—at no direct cost to women. It also protects Massachusetts’ residents from any changes to the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act.