Washington, DC—With the aim of improving the well-being of women across the country, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has partnered with the nation’s leading health organizations to update the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines, and to develop new recommendations. These guidelines help clinicians determine which screenings and other preventive health services they should routinely offer to patients. They also serve as the basis for insurance coverage at no cost sharing to the patient and are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
ACOG is leading this effort in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH). These premier experts in women’s health, together with a multidisciplinary work group of experts in women’s health, including clinicians, academics, advocates and patient representatives, will review and recommend updates to the current guidelines, and identify additional recommendations for women’s preventive health care.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is working with the best of the best in women’s health care to build upon and update the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. We look forward to our continued work with the coalition to ensure women in our country are offered the best preventative care at a low cost,” stated ACOG past president Jeanne Conry, MD, PhD. Dr. Conry has championed improvements to well-woman care throughout her career and has been instrumental in bringing this multidisciplinary coalition together.
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine developed the initial Women’s Preventive Service Guidelines. Five years after these recommendations were released, the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded approximately $950,000 in funding per year for a five-year cooperative agreement with ACOG to update these guidelines and subsequently to develop additional recommendations to enhance women’s overall healthcare.
To ensure the scientific basis of these preventive care recommendations, ACOG has also partnered with the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) at Oregon Health & Science University to conduct a comprehensive review of the evidence for each topic under consideration. The EPC’s wealth of experience in evidence identification and analysis on women’s health issues will be an essential component to support high-quality recommendations.
ACOG is taking a similar approach to that of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in their development and update of the Bright Futures guidelines for well-child and adolescent care. The two organizations are working closely together as AAP is a member of the steering committee to update and develop new recommendations within the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines.
"Prevention is at the core of health and well-being. Children, adolescents, and adults do best when we as a medical community can come together and prioritize health throughout the life course, which is what this grant represents," stated Benard P. Dreyer, MD, FAAP, President, AAP. "AAP looks forward to working closely with ACOG to draw from our Bright Futures guidelines and provide adolescent medical expertise to help inform the process."
According to HRSA, the updated Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines will be:
- Developed by women’s health experts to meet women’s unique preventive health needs throughout their lives
- Designed to preserve the clinician-patient relationship and allow patients to consult with their clinicians on what services are best-suited for them
- Focused on gaps in current preventive services guidelines addressing women’s health
"Family physicians are a major provider of primary care to women, so it is essential that we are at the table to review these recommendations," stated Douglas E. Henley, MD, FAAFP, Executive Vice President and CEO of AAFP. "We're committed to providing guidance to our members based on a rigorous evaluation of evidence, and we bring that same commitment to our role on the Women's Preventive Services Initiative advisory panel. We look forward to working on this grant with our colleague associations to ensure that women in America receive the most current, evidence-based, cost-effective preventive care."
"ACP is committed to helping internal medicine physicians provide high quality preventive care to women throughout their lives," said Nitin Damle, MD, MS, FACP, President, ACP. "We look forward to working with other health professional organizations to review and update the HRSA-sponsored Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines."
"NPWH is proud to be a partner with ACOG for the purpose of reviewing and updating the HRSA supported Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines," stated Gay Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, NPWH. "Women's health nurse practitioners are key members of the health care team dedicated to providing evidence-based care that promotes optimal outcomes for women. We look forward to collaborating with other national health professional organizations in this important effort to ultimately improve women’s health across the lifespan."
For more information, visit www.acog.org/wpsi.
About the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org
About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits—that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
About The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health was founded in 1980. Its mission is to ensure the provision of quality primary and specialty health care to women of all ages by women’s health nurse practitioners and other women’s health-focused advance practice registered nurses. NPWH seeks to improve women’s access to primary and specialty health care, increase women’s wellness and health outcomes, decrease health disparities affecting women, enhance women’s access to and knowledge of health resources, and protect and promote women’s rights to make choices regarding their health within the context of their personal belief systems. NPWH serves advanced practice registered nurses nationally and internationally by providing education and resources to increase clinical competencies, advocating healthcare policies that support women and APRNs, collaborating with interprofessional strategic partners, mentoring the next generation of women’s health NPs and other women’s health-focused APRN leaders, and fostering evidence-based practice in women’s health through research. www.npwh.org.