New Survey Examines the Provision of Family Planning Services by Community Health Centers
A new national survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and George Washington University finds few of the nation’s community health centers report they can handle a significant increase in patients. Less than one in five clinics report that they could increase their patient caseload by 25 percent or more in the next year. This finding suggests that community health centers may be challenged to fill the void if Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest network of freestanding family planning clinics, were excluded as a Medicaid or Title X provider, as proposed by the Trump Administration’s budget, and Congressional leadership.
The survey provides a comprehensive look at the provision of reproductive health care to low-income women by community health centers. It assesses the availability of family planning services at health centers during a period of considerable political debate over the future of federal family planning funding through Medicaid and Title X.
Other highlights from the survey include:
- Onsite provision of the most effective, long-acting methods of contraception at health centers rose between 2011 and 2017, from 36 percent to 63 percent for contraceptive implants and from 56 percent to 64 percent for hormonal IUDs.
- Over the same time period, however, the share of centers that dispense oral contraceptives onsite declined to 51 percent from 61 percent. Fewer than half of clinics provide onsite emergency contraception, and many do not prescribe it at all.
- Only 1 in 4 health centers offers their patients onsite access to all of the most effective family planning methods, which is the standard for high quality family planning care. Centers that receive Title X funding are considerably more likely to provide a wider range of onsite contraceptive services and follow the evidence-based best practices for high quality family planning care currently required by the Title X program.