For Immediate Release
July 20, 2011

Washington, DC – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) applauds the release of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) new report, “Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps” which recommends the addition of a handful of preventive services for women to the list of covered services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The IOM report recommends insurers cover the following eight preventive health services to remove financial barriers to accessing basic preventive care: counseling on sexually transmitted infections, counseling and screening for HIV for all sexually active women, contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies, and screening and counseling to detect domestic and interpersonal violence.

“We commend the IOM for recognizing the essential role these services play in preventive medicine and promoting women’s health. The recommendation to add culturally appropriate domestic violence screening and counseling as a covered preventive service is an important first step to addressing the impact violence has on a woman’s physical and reproductive health,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “We are especially pleased that the IOM recommends HIV testing for all sexually active women as our communities have some of the lowest testing rates in the country, and as many as 1 in 3 are unaware they are infected with HIV.”

The report also recommends screening for gestational diabetes, HPV testing for women over 30, lactation counseling and equipment, as well as a yearly well-woman care visit. If the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approves the recommendations, all health insurance plans will be required to cover the services at no cost to the insured. Read the Institute of Medicine’s entire report, “Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps.”

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.