Date: May 6th, 2014
By: Gina Desiderio
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released new recommendations outlining how to provide quality family planning (QFP) services , addressing services including
- contraceptive services,
- pregnancy testing and counseling,
- basic infertility services,
- preconception health services, and
- sexually transmitted infection (STI) services. 
The United States continues to face substantial challenges to improving the reproductive health of the U.S. population. Nearly one half of all pregnancies are unintended, with more than 700,000 adolescents aged 15–19 years becoming pregnant each year and more than 300,000 giving birth. One of eight pregnancies in the United States results in preterm birth, and infant mortality rates remain high compared with those of other developed countries.
This report can assist primary care providers in offering family planning services that will help women, men, and couples achieve their desired number and spacing of children and increase the likelihood that those children are born healthy.
The report provides recommendations for how to help prevent and achieve pregnancy, emphasizes offering a full range of contraceptive methods for persons seeking to prevent pregnancy, highlights the special needs of adolescent clients, and encourages the use of the family planning visit to provide selected preventive health services for women, in accordance with the recommendations for women issued by the Institute of Medicine and adopted by Health and Human Services.
Improving the quality of family planning services leads to improved reproductive health outcomes. Quality health care services consist of several attributes (which are defined further within the report):
- Client-centered approach
Family planning providers have unique opportunities to not only provide reproductive health care, but to also serve as resources and referrals for a range of other critical health care services…QFP services can play a key role in improving a range of health outcomes.
Want to Learn More? Attend the National Launch Webinar
CDC and OPA will present a national launch webinar to introduce these recommendations in a brief webinar, Thursday, May 8, 2014, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET. The webinar will provide an opportunity for all providers of family planning services to hear from leading subject matter experts, family planning stakeholders, and federal agency staff about the new QFP recommendations. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance of the webinar by visiting this site. Registration is now open.
About the Author
Gina Desiderio, Healthy Teen Network Director of Communications, has over 10 years of capacity-building and project management experience, supporting professionals to provide programs and services to empower youth to thrive.