The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has concerns about the changes recently announced for the Title X program. By removing the guarantee that providers give their patients full and accurate information about their health care, these changes represent a dramatic change of course for a program that has been widely viewed as successful and enjoyed bipartisan support for decades.
Health centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to over 28 million patients in more than 11,000 communities across the country. Health centers serve everyone regardless of ability to pay or insurance status and provide critical access to care for patients with low-incomes who face significant geographic, transportation, and socioeconomic barriers to care. By law, all health centers are required to offer voluntary family planning services to their patients as part of a broad range of women’s health services. In addition, many health centers participate in the Title X program in an effort to improve the quality and breadth of reproductive health and contraception services offered. In fact, roughly one-quarter of all Title X delivery sites are Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity, income, or location, deserves the best medical care and information available. These changes interfere with the patient-provider relationship by limiting providers’ ability to give their patients comprehensive information according to evidence-based clinical guidelines — even when the patient directly asks for specific information.
Health centers are trusted providers in their communities. Maintaining this trust requires that patients have confidence that they are receiving comprehensive, medically-informed and accurate information from their health care providers at all times. These new rules will force health centers to choose between allowing federal regulations to dictate what they discuss with their patients and losing a source of revenue that supports patient care. Either way, patients would not be well-served.