The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has significant concerns about the changes outlined in the recently proposed rule to alter the federal requirements around the Title X program. The proposed rule represents a dramatic departure from the way that Congress intended for health centers to participate in the Title X program and could inhibit access to care for the millions of patients served by the program.
Health centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to 27 million patients in more than 10,000 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 where they live, deserves the best medical care and evidence-based information available. This proposed rule would interfere with the patient-physician relationship by limiting a provider’s ability to give their patients comprehensive information according to evidence-based clinical guidelines, even when the patient directly asks for this information, and would remove the guarantee that people get full and accurate information about health care from their doctors.
Health centers are trusted providers in their communities. It is imperative that health center patients feel confident that they are receiving comprehensive, medically-informed and accurate information about health care from their doctors at all times. Should this proposed rule be adopted, health centers would have to choose between allowing federal regulations to dictate what they can and must discuss with their patients, and losing a source of revenue to support patient care. Either way, patients would not be well-served.
Title X is successful, and has had bipartisan support for decades. On behalf of the low income and vulnerable patients served by health centers across the country, NACHC urges the Administration to withdraw this proposed rule and to reconsider its course of action