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More women are receiving preventive care following ACA implementation

Community health centers help to expand access to necessary health services, study says
A female doctor wearing a lab coat and stethoscope puts her right hand on the left arm of a female patient, who is shown from behind
Research conducted at OHSU, OCHIN finds that preventive health services for female patients increased following ACA implementation. (Getty Images)

According to new research, published in the journal Women’s Health Issues, preventive care services for individuals who identify as female have increased following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Using electronic health record data from the ADVANCE Clinical Research Network, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and OCHIN, Inc. in Portland, Oregon,  examined rates of screenings for cervical cancer, HIV, chlamydia and blood pressure, as well as vaccination for human papilloma virus and influenza, among more than 700,000 female patients aged 11 to 65. All accessed care in one of 354 community health centers across 14 states, 10 of which had expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

The team found that all preventive services, with the exception of blood pressure screening, increased after ACA implementation in both expansion and non-expansion states; flu vaccination and blood pressure screening increased more in expansion states, and chlamydia screening more in non-expansion states.

Close-up headshot of Brigit Hatch, smiling caucasian woman with freckles and shoulder-length brown hair
Brigit Hatch, M.D., M.P.H. (OHSU)

"These findings show that community health centers improved delivery of necessary preventive care to underserved populations, and this work is critical to reducing health disparities,” says the study’s lead author Brigit Hatch, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Despite modest increases in preventive care after implementation of the Affordable Care Act, additional supports are needed to improve the receipt of preventive care for all populations.”   

This research is a part of the EVERYWOMAN project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (1R01HS025155-01) and conducted with the Accelerating Data Value Across a National Community Health Center Network, or ADVANCE, Clinical Research Network.  ADVANCE is funded through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (contract number RI-CRN-2020-001).

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