February 1, 2013 — New York Reps. Louise Slaughter (D) and Richard Hanna (R) on Wednesday urged HHS to offer guidance for health insurers and providers about screening female patients for intimate partner violence, CQ HealthBeat reports (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/30).
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended that physicians screen all women of childbearing age for intimate partner violence. USPSTF gave the screening a level "B" rating, meaning that health plans will be required to provide the services without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/23).
In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Slaughter and Hanna wrote that the recommendation provides "a crucial opportunity to improve the health status and safety of victims of domestic violence."
However, HHS should clarify how often women should be screened, including the minimum number of screenings annually; if there are tools or brochures that could serve as resources; and the key elements of counseling, the lawmakers wrote.
They also asked that HHS define which providers insurers must reimburse without cost to the patient. In addition, insurers need more guidance on which services they are required to cover and which billing codes to use. The unique privacy and safety concerns of victims of intimate partner violence also should be taken into account, they added (CQ HealthBeat, 1/30).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership