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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IOM Preventive Care Recommendations: Beyond Contraception

Eileen Falk

Staff Writer

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released its recommendations on which services should be added to the list of preventive services new insurance plans must offer at no cost to the patient under the Affordable Care Act.

While the IOM's birth control recommendations got the bulk of the media attention, contraception is only one of eight free preventive services recommended. The seven others did not get as much attention but are just as important.

Two of the IOM recommendations focus on maternal and infant health - screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment - and can make a big difference for both expectant mothers and their babies.

Four recommended services include counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), screenings for HPV (a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer), both counseling and screenings for HIV, and annual well-woman visits.

Lastly, IOM recommends that women receive free counseling to help detect and prevent domestic and interpersonal violence, which will help women recognize and get out of abusive relationships and situations where they are at risk of being harmed.

Together, these eight services will help to improve and save the lives of many women. Through screenings, counseling, and other support, women will be able to understand their potential health problems and, if needed, get treatment for them before they progress.

Over the next week, we will examine these recommendations that will benefit the health of millions of women across the country. To learn more, stop by the blog throughout the week!