AUSTIN—Starting May 1, Texas will begin providing this year’s statewide Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent to prevent Zika virus transmission. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is offering the repellent to more Medicaid clients to ensure additional Texans are protected from the virus that can be devastating to unborn babies. Continue Reading »
Texas covers select mosquito repellents for the prevention of Zika virus. The following
notice describes how clients may access mosquito repellent through Medicaid and other state programs, and provides essential information for prescribers regarding the mosquito repellent benefit. Continue Reading »
Women’s health organizations in Texas say a President Trump-signed measure targeting abortion providers will not have an affect here — yet. Continue Reading »
Here’s one statistic you won’t hear anyone bragging about: Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancies in the country.
Contemplate that for a minute. According to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more young women in Texas become parents for a second or third time in their teenage years than any other state in the nation. Those pregnancies take a physical, financial and psychological toll on the teenagers, and they also come with a high economic cost for Texas taxpayers. Continue Reading »
Texas health officials are expanding testing recommendations for pregnant women in South Texas as the advent of warm weather increases the risk for local transmission of the mosquito-borne virus that has been shown to cause severe birth defects.
Donna Kreuzer says she never testifies on bills at the Capitol because she doesn’t want her testimony to get lost in her tears.
But Kreuzer, 65, slowly rose from her seat on Tuesday during a House Public Health Committee to tearfully tell legislators about her daughter, Kristi, who was diagnosed with postpartum depression three days after giving birth. Kristi didn’t tell her family for two months after the diagnosis, and despite their efforts to help, she died in 2010. Continue Reading »
As a son, husband, father and physical therapy faculty member at Texas Woman’s University, the nation’s largest public university primarily for women, I read with great interest about the economic issues facing Texas women in the latest study produced by the Dallas Women’s Foundation and supported by TWU. The recently released study sheds light on the economic disparities Texas women face in regards to the four essential building blocks of women’s economic security: health insurance, education, child care and housing. Continue Reading »
The Texas Department of State Health Services presents the spring lecture series Grand Rounds: Encouraging a Culture of Learning and the Integration of Evidence into Practice. Maternal and Child Health Surveillance in Texas is the featured topic on April 5, 2017. Continue Reading »
Every Texas legislator should know by now that more mothers are dying less than a year after giving birth. At least that’s what Lisa Hollier believes. Continue Reading »
House Committees have been assigned – you can view them here. The House Committee on Appropriations has begun conducting hearings, and its Subcommittee on Article II will have a public hearing on Thursday, February 23rd to discuss Health and Human Services programs, including women’s healthcare programs. You can review the House budget proposals, along with other related documents here. TWHC Chair, Dr. Janet Realini will provide testimony during this hearing. Continue Reading »
Patients always want to know how they can optimize pregnancy outcomes, both for their baby and themselves. Ideally, prenatal care begins before conception. A few primary goals of preconception care include weight management, taking daily vitamins, getting necessary vaccinations, and screening and treating certain medical conditions and cancers. Continue Reading »
Medicaid patients who received care in a “pregnancy medical home” in Texas seemed to have a significant decrease in hospital utilization, for both emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient hospital stays, researchers said here. Continue Reading »
ACOG has released its “Facts are Important” document highlighting the need for all policy makers and influencers to stick to facts, science, and clinical evidence when deciding upon health care policy. This document responds to the President’s naming of Katy Talento as his top health care advisor. Talento has published that contraceptives are dangerous, and lead to miscarriages and infertility. Continue Reading »
AUSTIN – Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued the following statement today upon announcing Senate Committee assignments for the 2017 Legislative Session: Continue Reading »
2017 has arrived with a bang. While many of us made new year resolutions and committed to some change in our personal lives, dramatic change is happening in government, both in Washington, D.C. and Austin, where state lawmakers have gathered for the Texas Legislative Session. Change has occurred at our organization as well. I’m honored to be serving as the new chair of ACOG XI (Texas) and the Me & My OBG campaign. Continue Reading »
The election of Donald Trump, fights over Medicaid funding, Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion and a slow-burning crisis in the state’s child welfare system spelled a chaotic year for Texas health and human services policy in 2016. Here’s a look at this year’s top stories. Continue Reading »
After more than a year of delays, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program.
In a move that could affect thousands of low-income women, state health officials on Tuesday delivered a final legal notice to defund the organization from the Medicaid program through which it provides family planning and women’s health services to the poor. Planned Parenthood had previously received $3.1 million in Medicaid funding, but those dollars will be nixed in 30 days, according to the notice which was obtained by The Texas Tribune. Continue Reading »
While efforts to improve the health of Texans are gaining ground, the state continues to struggle with obesity, lack of health insurance coverage and poor access to care, finds an annual study released Thursday. Continue Reading »
Federal health officials on Wednesday urged pregnant women to consider postponing travel to Brownsville, Tex., because of five local cases of Zika virus infection that have been reported. Continue Reading »
The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Cameron County Health Department announced Friday they’ve identified four more locally-transmitted cases of Zika in Cameron County. Continue Reading »
Following the political lead of several northern states, six Texas lawmakers have filed bills to eliminate sales tax on feminine health products used for menstrual period hygiene, including tampons, sanitary napkins and menstrual cups. Continue Reading »
The first locally transmitted case of the Zika virus in Texas has been identified in the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday. Continue Reading »
AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced today that it is reinstating the Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent due to the first reported case of Zika virus disease likely transmitted by a mosquito in Texas. Continue Reading »
The Committee on Nominations for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists met November 19 and selected Lisa M. Hollier, MD, MPH as the President Elect nominee for May 2017-May 2018. The slate of national officers will be voted on at the Annual Business Meeting in San Diego, CA, in May 2017. Continue Reading »
Westyn Hinchey has always had a plan. She worked hard to get into Boston College, carved out her niche as a public relations professional in the health care industry and focused her job searches on cities where she wanted to live—Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio. But there was one dream—motherhood—for which Hinchey had no plan. “Everything in my life I’ve been able to choose,” she says. “But when it came to my fertility, I always knew I wanted to be a mom but it was really out of my control.” Continue Reading »
One of my patients was riding her bicycle to school and in broad daylight a man grabbed her off the bike, kidnapped her, and sexually assaulted her. She was brave and remained clear headed enough to jump out of a moving car to escape, to live, and to eventually see the criminals (oh yes, he had a friend) brought to justice. Continue Reading »
Texas, along with several other states, is revising its Medicaid reimbursement policy to cover the provision of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) immediately after delivery, Kaiser Health News/Texas Tribune reports (Luthra, Texas Tribune/Kaiser Health News, 10/18).
Medicaid LARC coverage
LARC, including intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal implants, are seen as ways to reduce the country’s rate of unintended pregnancies and associated costs. LARC devices are more effective than other forms of contraception and can last between three and 10 years after insertion. Continue Reading »
Peggy Wall, a family nurse practitioner at an Austin community health center, treats many women in their 40s, who already have a family and find themselves confronting an accidental pregnancy.
Many, she says, wish they had taken preventive steps after their last child was born and could be good candidates for getting an intrauterine device in the delivery room immediately after giving birth. Until recently, that sort of IUD access has been difficult to come by. Continue Reading »
A recent article out of San Antonio highlights one of the biggest wins we’ve seen in Texas in quite some time.
I’m referring to a new state initiative in women’s health care that has the potential to make a real difference for the women of Texas. That initiative is designed to improve the availability and use of long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, methods, such as contraceptive subdermal implants and intrauterine devices. Continue Reading »
Yes. More pregnant women die in Texas than in any other state.
While pregnancy is becoming safer across the world, it’s becoming more dangerous in the United States. Maternal mortality dropped in 157 countries between 2000 and 2013 but went up 27 percent in the U.S. over a similar time period. The U.S. ranks lower than Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Libya when it comes to keeping pregnant women alive. Continue Reading »
It was alarming enough to learn that the rate of Texas women dying of pregnancy-related causes nearly doubled in the last four years.
Now comes the troubling news that the Department of State Health Services won’t release critical case-level data on these deaths that could lead to finding out why. Continue Reading »
Over the last several years, many states have begun to look at their maternal morbidity and mortality rates and have had similar findings. In 2013, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created and began analyzing maternal deaths in Texas. What the task force’s second report indicates is what other states also see: Continue Reading »
Pregnant women visiting the Center for Children and Women get more than ultrasounds and vitamins. They get blood pressure checks, mental health screenings, diabetes tests and lab work – all under one roof. Continue Reading »
Election Day is approaching. Our local, state, and national elected representatives make decisions and laws that directly affect our lives. Women’s health issues are no exception. It is important to allow your opinions to be counted through your vote. Voters must register prior to becoming eligible to cast votes. Continue Reading »
At the direction of the Texas Legislature, the state’s health agencies have begun a massive restructuring to make the system more efficient, effective and responsive for all Texans. Continue Reading »
Last week, researchers studying maternal mortality in the U.S. reported an ominous trend: The rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas seemed to have doubled since 2010, making the Lone Star State one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a baby. Reproductive health advocates were quick to blame the legislature for slashing funding in 2011–12 to family-planning clinics that serve low-income women, calling the numbers a “tragedy” and “a national embarrassment.” Continue Reading »
AUSTIN – Eligible Texas women on Medicaid can go straight to their pharmacist to pick up mosquito repellent, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced today. Texas Medicaid has issued a standing order for mosquito repellent prescriptions for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant. Continue Reading »
Within a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, the rate of pregnant women dying in Texas doubled – and it’s not entirely clear why. Continue Reading »
With local Zika cases detected in Florida and increased travel to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, Texas is on high alert for local Zika transmission by mosquito bites and is urging everyone to strictly follow precautions. Continue Reading »
With federal funding to fight Zika stuck in Congress, and amid news that mosquito-to-human transmission of the virus has reached the continental U.S., Texas officials announced on Wednesday they would allow Medicaid to pay for mosquito repellent for women, in the hopes of preventing the disease. Continue Reading »
AUSTIN – Texas Medicaid will cover the cost of mosquito repellent for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant, HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced today. Continue Reading »
Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith joined state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today to announce an extensive outreach campaign to focus awareness on the state’s new Healthy Texas Women program which will deliver more care to more Texas women statewide. Continue Reading »
The statistics on the youngest members of our population are grim.
The number of babies in Bexar County who do not celebrate their first birthday is higher than the national average. A recommitment by local health officials to address the root problems could improve survival rates. Continue Reading »
Summer is here and so is our favorite blood-sucking friend – the MOSQUITO!! Mosquitos are a normal summertime nuisance, but this summer they come with increased concern. Continue Reading »
With the threat of Zika looming in Texas, preventive health care for women has never been more important.
The impacts of Zika have been devastating. Carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and improper brain development. Zika has also been linked to other problems in infants, including eye defects, hearing loss and impaired growth. Continue Reading »
In the last couple weeks, there have been several important updates related to Zika published by national and state organizations. Continue Reading »
On July 1, 2016, Texas Health and Human Services Commission will launch two new women’s health programs: Healthy Texas Women and a new Family Planning program. The Texas Women’s Health Program and the Expanded Primary Health Care Program will be consolidated into Healthy Texas Women, and the new Family Planning Program will be a modified version of the state’s current Family Planning program. Participation is needed from physicians, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and specialized family planning clinics. Continue Reading »
ACOG-District XI (Texas) Chair Moss Hampton, MD released today a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Texas House Bill 2 (2013). The bill that required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards. Continue Reading »
My mother graduated from high school in 1969, and on January 3, 1971, she gave birth to me. She was married later that year, but by the time I was 10, she was a divorced single mother of two young boys. To make ends meet, we moved in with my grandparents, who were also housing two of my mother’s siblings and their kids. My family and I moved at least six times before I graduated high school. I was fortunate to have a large family network that combined their resources to help me accomplish my goals—but not everyone may be as lucky. Continue Reading »
Medical leaders at San Antonio symposium say the Zika virus could be transmitted in Texas as early as this summer →
Tropical medicine experts say the Zika virus could be transmitted within Texas as early as this summer, if the virus follows the traditional course of similar diseases. Continue Reading »
After Texas Booted Planned Parenthood from HIV Program, County Replacement Hasn’t Performed a Single Test →
When Texas abruptly ended its $600,000 HIV prevention contract with Planned Parenthood’s Houston affiliate in late December, state health officials promisedthat there would be no interruption in services. The Department of State Health Services parceled the money out to three county health departments in the Houston area and insisted at the time that the counties would have the capacity to pick up where Planned Parenthood left off. Continue Reading »
HBO host John Oliver’s stunt wipes out nearly $15 million in medical bills for thousands of Texans →
Thousands of Texans stuck with delinquent medical bills from hospitals had their debts forgiven courtesy of HBO host John Oliver. Continue Reading »
AUSTIN — Texas officials want to sell women on Medicaid on the use of long-term contraception that can help them avoid unwanted pregnancies, especially those struggling with significant health problems that are more likely to lead to premature or low birth-weight babies. Continue Reading »
Hopefully you were able to listen in on the May 19th House Public Health Committee hearing on birth outcomes – you can find the archived hearing here. Invited Speakers included Evelyn Delgado, Assistant Commissioner with the Department of State Health Services: Lesley French, Associate Commissioner of Women’s Health Services with HHSC; Dr. David Lakey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health at The University of Texas System; Dr. Lisa Hollier, Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Center for Children and Women; and Dr. Charleta Guillory, Volunteer Leader at March of Dimes.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has announced that it has cancelled the Healthy Texas Women’ (HTW) Request for Proposals (RFP) and will not be posting an RFP for the Family Planning Program (FPP). Instead, HHSC will be using an open enrollment process for both programs (rather than a competitive RFP process). Continue Reading »
I recently had the privilege of testifying about postpartum depression before the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health as a representative of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-Texas Chapter. Continue Reading »
The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, a relief to health care providers that feared losing the funds over state leaders’ refusal to provide health insurance to low-income adults. Continue Reading »
We all know too well that outside influences – including politicians, insurance companies, and “expert” patient groups – are interfering with our ability to do our jobs. By winning hardship relief for ob-gyns still working to achieve EHR Meaningful use, stopping legislation that would add medically unnecessary requirements and criminalize the practice of medicine, and delaying the controversial breast cancer screening coverage guidelines that conflict with current best-practices, ACOG is standing up for you and your patients, to stop this interference in the practice of medicine. Continue Reading »
This week is National Infant Immunization Week and an excellent time to remind everyone about the importance of immunizations in general and Tdap in specific. It is important to remember that vaccines are safe, effective, and prevent serious diseases such as measles, polio, and tetanus to name a few. The Tdap vaccination protects against pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria. While these infections are rare in our world today, Pertussis or “whooping cough” is making a comeback, especially in Texas. Continue Reading »
For advocates of women’s health funding in Texas, the climb back from the depths of 2011 continues.
That year, the Texas Legislature sliced about two-thirds of the state’s family planning budget, and the impact reverberated across the state. Obstetrician-gynecologist Janet Realini, MD, saw the effect of the cuts emerge in San Antonio. Continue Reading »
Through a continuing medical education (CME) course available at TexMed 2016, physicians can learn the importance of and keys to improving patient access to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants, collectively known as long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Continue Reading »
Last week over 25 OB/Gyn’s from Texas descended on Washington, DC to advocate for our patients. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annually hosts a leadership conference in early March for doctors from all over the country. Continue Reading »
Washington, DC — Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, MBA, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding today’s oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell: Continue Reading »
“So that’s how it all works. In a few weeks I’ll know if I successfully matched into a residency, and then later that week I’ll get to find out where.”
My grandmother sat silently. Her eyes appeared glazed over and I got the distinct impression that she was staring at some distant object behind me rather than at my face. Continue Reading »
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) launched a new Estimated Due Date Calculator (EDD Calculator), the first app strictly based on joint recommendations from ACOG, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) for determining pregnancy due dates. Continue Reading »
March is a special month for medical students across the United States – it’s when the National Resident Match, or “the Match” takes place. It is one of the most pivotal moments in a medical student’s life. It is the culmination of a lengthy process that fourth year medical students must go through to obtain a spot in a coveted residency training program. Continue Reading »
As lawmakers and appropriators, it is our responsibility at the Texas Legislature to ensure that your tax dollars are being spent in the most efficient manner possible. Continue Reading »
People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years.
The finding comes from polling done by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Continue Reading »
Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and state and federal governments should work together to ensure the confidentiality of adolescents and young adults who access sensitive health services, according to a joint position paper endorsed by several professionals groups. Continue Reading »
The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have prepared the following information on Zika virus and pregnant patients.
Serious birth defects including congenital microcephaly have been reported in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Information on these outcomes related to Zika is evolving, but until more is known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant. Continue Reading »
I’m sure most of you have seen reports of Zika Virus in the news.
Here’s what we know so far: this virus is spread by mosquitos and causes symptoms ranging from fever, rash, and joint pain to red, irritated eyes. There is no vaccination against this virus at the moment, and no treatment aside from supportive care. In areas with a high number of Zika Virus infections, there has been an increase in babies born with small heads (microcephaly) as well as an increase in miscarriage. In many of these affected women, the Zika Virus has been detected. Continue Reading »
Jessica Sepulveda was worried when she started bleeding during her fourth month of pregnancy.
Although she had applied for Medicaid to cover her prenatal care appointments, she still was waiting for the state to determine her eligibility and hadn’t found a doctor who would see her without the insurance. Continue Reading »
Many pediatricians and family doctors are not strongly recommending the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine to preteens and their parents, contributing to low vaccination rates, a survey of nearly 600 doctors suggests. Continue Reading »
Women’s access to mammograms is safe under a two-year moratorium on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations for breast cancer screening included in the Omnibus Spending Bill. Continue Reading »
As hard as it is to believe, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a growing problem. I thought that everyone knew that pregnancy was a time when alcohol was to be avoided by the pregnant mother. Recent studies from the Center for Disease Control now reveal that 1 in 10 pregnant women drink during their pregnancy and that one third of those that drink report binge drinking! Continue Reading »
Women worried that pregnancy is a time to sit still and be careful don’t need to worry, specialist doctors said Monday. In fact, they said, pregnant women need to get up and exercise. Continue Reading »
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wants physicians who treat adolescent girls to consider a new vital sign: menstruation. Continue Reading »
The rate of infant mortality in Texas is almost six per 1,000 births, but the infant mortality rate for the black population statewide and in Travis County is twice as high, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Continue Reading »
On Danica McCluer’s last appointment before the due date of her first child, her doctor said measurements showed her baby was likely to be big. Instead of her having a natural birth, as McCluer had hoped, her doctor insisted that she undergo surgery and deliver the baby by caesarean section. Continue Reading »
It has happened to all of us. We have a sudden health care problem, and need to seek help right away. We are nervous but have to make quick decisions. It would be so helpful if we had anticipated what things we would need before anything happened. Continue Reading »
Your patients, and you, may be understandably confused by the ever-changing variations in mammography screening guidelines. Just this week, the American Cancer Society added another set of recommendations to the mix. Continue Reading »
On October 14, 2015, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation voted unanimously to appoint nine members to the Midwives Advisory Board.
Advisory Board members will provide crucial guidance to TDLR’s Midwives program. Their knowledge and technical expertise in this field is essential in helping the Commissioners make informed choices and decisions. Continue Reading »
Twelve baby deliveries in one 12-hour shift? Dr. Martin Hechanova remembers his record-setting night fondly. He was the “Board Doctor” while interning at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. “I enjoyed the rush of hopping from one delivery to another,” Dr. Hechanova said. Continue Reading »
U.S. women are increasingly turning to highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods—particularly IUDs. According to “Changes in Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods Among United States Women, 2009–2012,” by Guttmacher Institute researchers Megan L. Kavanaugh and colleagues, use of the IUD and the contraceptive implant by 15–44-year-old female contraceptive users increased from about 9% in 2009 to nearly 12% in 2012. Continue Reading »
As a male, it’s difficult for me to relate to having a well woman exam. I will never have to visit a gynecologist, even though I am one. Perhaps for me the only comparison to a well woman appointment is going to the dentist. Given that, I can understand why patients may be curious about why they should commit to an annual healthcare maintenance exam with their OB/Gyn. Continue Reading »
Large numbers of poor teenagers will be able for the first time to get free birth control from the state as officials aim to reduce Texas’ high teen pregnancy rate, state health agencies announced Wednesday. Continue Reading »
Four years after they first reconfigured state-subsidized health services for low-income women, Texas health officials are at it again as they consider how to consolidate two of the state’s main women’s health programs. Continue Reading »
A committee opinion from the Committee on Genetics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), advises obstetrician-gynecologists treating women who have single-gene conditions to consult with subspecialists before and during pregnancy and during the neonatal period. The opinion is published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Continue Reading »
An updated committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges healthcare providers to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) for all appropriate patients. Healthcare professionals should encourage patients to consider implants and intrauterine devices, educate patients on LARC options, and advocate for insurance coverage and appropriate payment and reimbursement for every type of contraceptive method, according to the committee opinion published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Continue Reading »
Through the Sunset review process and legislation that set up the reorganization of the Texas health and human services system, Texas lawmakers made clear their goal for improving coordination within the system, its efficiency, and the way services are delivered. A key part of that broader effort is health care services for women. Continue Reading »
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the U.S., especially among women, who disproportionately bear the long-term consequences of STDs. Continue Reading »
Long term patient relationships, surgical procedures, preventative medicine, and of course women’s health issues. “The specialty of Ob/Gyn has it all,” says Dr. Dani Steininger, our Doctor of the Month. Continue Reading »
Vaccines are an important part of planning and having a healthy pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines. If you are currently pregnant, doctors and midwives recommend you receive 2 vaccines during your pregnancy:
- Tdap to help protect against whooping cough, and
- The flu shot to help protect against influenza. Continue Reading »
Every year, thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and to help remind adults that they need vaccines, too – ACOG is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure adults are protected against diseases like whooping cough, tetanus, shingles and pneumococcal disease. Let’s not forget the flu either, as flu season is right around the corner! Continue Reading »
“What medications are you taking? Nothing? What about any vitamins or supplements?” Because most vitamins and supplements are available over the counter, many women do not necessarily think to include them when discussing their medications with their physician. Continue Reading »
Pregnant women can experience a roller coaster of emotions: bliss, moodiness, excitement – and sometimes anxiety over what types of prenatal testing you should have and what the results really mean. Continue Reading »
Changes in how women are screened for cervical cancer mean they’re getting Pap tests less often. But that may also mean young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease. Continue Reading »
FOR most of human history, pregnancy has come with a significant risk of death. Up until the early 1930s in America, nearly one woman died of related complications for every 100 live births. Thanks to advances in obstetric medicine and widened access to better care, the maternal-mortality rate declined by almost 99% over subsequent decades—one of the great public-health achievements of the 20th century. By 1987, fewer than eight women died for every 100,000 live births. Over the past quarter of a century, however, America’s maternal-mortality rate has been creeping back up. Continue Reading »
During her pregnancy, Milena Mrosovsky estimates she underwent a dozen fetal ultrasounds. “I was just happy to get my pictures,” she says of the scan images, “and keep them in my little album.”
Her experience isn’t uncommon. American women have been getting fetal ultrasound scans at sharply higher rates than before, and parents have turned the images of their unborn into fixtures of social media. Continue Reading »
Out-of-pocket spending on most major birth control methods fell sharply in the months after the Affordable Care Act began requiring insurance plans to cover contraception at no cost to women, a new study has found. Spending on the pill, the most popular form of prescription birth control, dropped by about half in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, before the mandate took effect. Continue Reading »
Roughly half of first-time mothers in the U.S. gain too much weight during pregnancy, about the same proportion who are overweight at the start, a study finds. Continue Reading »
The Supreme Court has placed a stay on a lower court’s ruling that upheld new abortion standards in Texas, to give opponents of a controversial 2013 law time to take their case to the nation’s highest court. Continue Reading »
You might not give your particular method of hormonal birth control a second thought, but maybe you’ve heard terrifying stories about women having strokes or blood clots, or freaked out after reading the prescribing information, or have vaguely worried about the long-term consequences of taking hormones like estrogen and progestin. Yes, tragic things have happened to women on the pill (and IUD, shot, ring, implant, and patch), but these methods are well-studied and their use is widespread. Continue Reading »
As the overall number of Texans without health insurance continues to fall, a new report shows that the state’s women and Hispanics have been the biggest beneficiaries.
Between September 2013 and March 2015, the percentage of Hispanics without health insurance fell from 39.1 percent to 24.3 percent, meaning that more Hispanics have health insurance now. It is the largest improvement of any ethnic group, a study by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University‘s Baker Institute for Public Policy found. Continue Reading »
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health announced Thursday that they have developed a device that puts a “mini-placenta” on a chip to better understand the organ’s role in pregnancy, highlighting new technology that’s showing up in labs across the country and may reduce the amount of animal testing over time. Continue Reading »
The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition is immensely grateful that Texas legislators recognize women’s preventive health care — including check-ups, high blood pressure screenings, and contraception — means healthier babies, healthier mothers and lower costs for taxpayers. The 2016-2017 budget includes $50 million in new funding for women’s preventive healthcare. Combined with the funding restoration in the 2013 legislative session, this funding has the potential to reverse much of the devastating effect of the 2011 budget cuts and subsequent upheavals to women’s health programs. Continue Reading »
Kyle Janek, the head of the state’s embattled Health and Human Services Commission, will step down July 1 and be replaced by his deputy, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday.
Abbott announced that Chris Traylor, who had been poised to retire from the health agency, will take over for Janek. Traylor is a former commissioner of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Continue Reading »
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private insurance companies cover women’s preventive health care, including all FDA approved contraceptive methods and services, without out-of-pocket patient cost. However, as demonstrated by the recently released reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation and National Women’s Law Center, many insurance companies are not providing coverage of some contraceptive methods; some are illegally required co-payments: and some are providing no coverage at all. Continue Reading »
I’m an Ob/Gyn. I’m pregnant. I am nauseous.
I am now experiencing exactly what I have been telling my patients is normal for years. It’s karma. I am also thinking of this as a kind of blessing because I’m thinking about the advice I’ve been giving in a whole new way. The biggest insight I’ve had is there are so many simple lifestyle changes that help. I have been lucky and have not required much medication to make this tolerable and found that the following things really improved my ability to get through the day without being completely miserable. Continue Reading »
The arrival of a baby is a life-changing experience for the new mother. It also represents a unique window of opportunity for obstetricians and other primary care physicians to provide education and implement interventions that will affect the outcome of current and future pregnancies. Continue Reading »
Washington, DC — Hal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding the Save the Children report, “State of the World’s Mothers 2015: The Urban Disadvantage” Continue Reading »
Serving as ACOG President is indeed an honor. It is also a significant responsibility involving accountability to the 58,000 members who pay dues to our organization. We are the premier organization advocating for obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health care. As ACOG members, we are above all things dedicated to striving for and preserving our reputation of excellence, our credibility and our integrity in the pursuit of the best in women’s health care delivery. Continue Reading »
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin’s adage still holds true, especially when it comes to Texas women’s health care.
You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate that women’s preventive health care — including check-ups, cancer screenings, and contraception — means healthier babies, healthier mothers and lower costs for taxpayers. In fact, every dollar spent on contraceptive care saves more than seven dollars in prevented medical and social service costs. Continue Reading »
Domestic violence is a type of abuse between partners that is often unrecognized by the person being abused. Domestic violence can take many different forms including intimidation, physical or sexual assault.
Domestic violence sometimes causes physical injury. But it can also cause emotional or psychological pain with no physical signs. Continue Reading »
In most cases of early pregnancy loss, expectant management, medical management, and surgical management provide similarly safe and effective treatment options; however, of the three options, surgical management had the highest rates of guaranteed success and fastest recovery times, according to Sarah Prager, MD, of the University of Washington, and colleagues from the Committee on Practice Bulletins at theAmerican Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Continue Reading »
The Texas House on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a measure that would require public employers to provide accommodations for mothers who need to pump breast milk while at work. Continue Reading »
Debate on legislation to re-evaluate a state health agency morphed into a fight over abortion in the Texas House on Thursday, and the bill was pulled down after a pair of anti-abortion amendments were added to the bill over the author’s objections. Continue Reading »
When deciding what kind of birth control pill is better suited to your needs, considering the side effects of each method may be the top factor guiding your decision. However, what happens once you decide to go off of it? There may be various reasons for wanting to go off the pill—wanting to conceive, needing to switch methods or simply not needing it any longer. Continue Reading »
Medicaid is an integral part of our health care system and a crucial source of coverage for many of our patients. More than one out of every ten adult women in the US (13%) are insured by Medicaid. However, the promise of timely access to care through the program is limited by low reimbursement rates across most of the country. Continue Reading »
Our old patterns, beliefs and thinking can keep us stuck in rut where we are constantly playing the blame game. Whether it’s the situation, our genetics, our environment or whatever, rather than looking deeper…how we are thinking. Our thoughts are powerful. We can choose to be the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves by taking some simple steps. Continue Reading »
Good morning/afternoon Chairwoman Crownover and committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on House Bill 3115. I am Lisa Hollier, MD, a practicing maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston testifying today on behalf of the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-Texas Chapter, Federation of Texas Psychiatry, March of Dimes and Texans Care for Children. Our organizations strongly support this legislation, which if enacted will vastly improve postpartum screening and treatment for low-income women. We are grateful to Governor Abbott and Representative Coleman for championing this issue.
As for many medical students, the legislative process seemed to me an arcane affair governed by esoteric rules of which I had no grasp. Yet so many of the conversations happening in our state capitols and in Washington, DC could directly affect aspects of my future practice. It wasn’t until recently that I saw ways in which students can influence the decision-making process. Continue Reading »
Americans spend a lot of time at work. They come early and leave late and don’t take lunch hours. Some continue to be tethered to the job by cellphone and email long after they have supposedly clocked out. Others try to play catch-up on the weekends or late at night. Continue Reading »
Thousands fewer women are getting health services through the now state-run Women’s Health Program after Planned Parenthood was barred from being a provider. Continue Reading »
Legislative battles over abortion could intensify this year, with both state and federal lawmakers eyeing additional restrictions on access to the procedure.
And ob.gyns. are finding themselves in the middle once again, with some opposing legislative interference in the physician-patient relationship and others supporting increased regulation of abortion providers. Continue Reading »
It’s time to stop procrastinating and make your health a priority. There are 5 important health checkups that are extremely important to your health as a woman no matter what age you are. You may not need all of these checkups right now, but make sure you know about them and talk to your doctor about when you should make your appointment. Continue Reading »
As with each legislative session, the ACOG-TX and the Me & My OBG Campaign has selected priority issues for 2015 that are important to protecting women’s health in Texas. Continue Reading »
Over the last several years, Texas has made great strides towards improving the health of its mothers and babies, investing dollars and resources to promote early prenatal care, help women better plan and space their pregnancies, and reduce the state’s rates of low-birth weight babies, preterm births and infant mortality. Continue Reading »
By having regular blood tests, you can learn a lot about your health. The more you know, the better you are able to take care of your body.
Your blood can tell you something is wrong even before you know there is something wrong. It is important to establish your personal baseline to measure against for the future. Continue Reading »
We have all heard the old saying that “you are eating for two.” This is not true!! You certainly should not be eating double the calories. Instead, your eating habits should focus on the fact that what you eat will affect both you and your baby’s health, now and in the future. Continue Reading »
In order to obtain your health goals, declare them! Whether it’s to eat less, drink more water, or get more exercise, you have both big and small ideas on how you can improve your health. Here’s how to start declaring your goals so you can start accomplishing them. Continue Reading »
One particular day looms large during the Texas Legislative Session – bill filing deadline. This pivotal moment occurs, by rule, on the 60th day of each session. This year, that date falls on Friday, March 13, 2015. State lawmakers have just about one week from today to put the final touches on their legislative packages and formally submit them for consideration. Continue Reading »
When women decide where to give birth, they should understand the potential risks involved with their options, especially if they have underlying factors that increase risk of complications. A hospital or birthing center continues to be the safest place for labor and delivery; evidence shows that although the overall risk of serious childbirth complications remains low, there is still a twofold to threefold increased risk of neonatal death associated with home birth. Continue Reading »
When Texas state representatives propose legislation that relates to women’s healthcare, their bills most often are referred to the House Committee on Public Health House Committee on Public Health. The Committee is chaired by Representative Myra Crownover (Republican, Denton). Representative Elliott Naishtat (Democrat, Austin) is the Committee’s vice-chair. Continue Reading »
If you don’t take charge of your own health and wellness no one will. Change begins with you. It’s time. Here are 5 tips for dealing more effectively with your own health care. Continue Reading »
Training as a specialist in high-risk obstetrics can be fraught with disappointment and sadness, but fortunately there are physicians like Dr. Jamie Morgan for whom counseling patients and families and working together with them to achieve the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies is fulfilling and one of the most rewarding aspects of the work. We salute Dr. Morgan as our ‘Doc of the Month.’ Continue Reading »
Maternal deaths related to childbirth in the United States have been rising in the past decade. According to a 2014 report published in The Lancet, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is now more than double the rate in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and more than triple the rate in the United Kingdom. Continue Reading »
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus have announced committees and chairs for the 2015 Legislature. In the Texas Senate, five committees are of particular interest to the Me & My OBG Campaign given their impact Texas women’s health: Continue Reading »
Kirk Cole, associate commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, will serve as interim commissioner of the agency starting Feb. 1 as the state searches for a successor to Dr. David Lakey, who announced his resignation in early January. Continue Reading »
The 84th Texas Legislature convened last Tuesday for the opening of the 140-day legislative session. Today, January 20th, the new Governor and Lieutenant Governor take the oath of office. State lawmakers made progress last session when some women’s health funding and services were restored, but we have a lot more work to do. Continue Reading »
This January, National Birth Defects Prevention Month, let’s dedicate ourselves to educating our patients about the importance of preconception planning – and lifelong health. Continue Reading »
A group of Texas insurance companies has signed on with the state to work together to improve pregnancies and birth outcomes in Texas. Continue Reading »
All health plans offered in the state marketplace cover the same essential health benefits. These include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medicine, pregnancy care, and more. Continue Reading »
For Dr. Helen Dunnington, it is the small things that make her busy medical schedule worthwhile. “My favorite days are seeing a happy, satisfied patient: from delivering my patient’s baby, seeing a post-operative patient who is now pain free, or seeing a woman come in proudly stating she has lost weight and looking great.” Continue Reading »
In the midst of much pre-session manufactured drama, a glimmer of truly important news crossed our desk before the Christmas holidays. We decided to hold on to it until our Capital community was back from the holidays and beginning to focus on the tasks ahead. Continue Reading »
It’s official: Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey is leaving his job as the state’s public health chief next month to take a new gig with the University of Texas System and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Continue Reading »
Workforce issues in women’s healthcare continue to be a primary concern for ACOG.
A recent survey of 20,088 physicians conducted by the Physicians Foundation, a non-profit research organization, found that increasing workloads, regulatory requirements, and other changes in the healthcare system are prompting physicians to make career changes. Continue Reading »
Use of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), the most effective methods, is on the rise. According to new data from the CDC, approximately 62% of women aged 15-44 were using some type of contraceptive method. The most commonly used methods were the pill (16.0%), female sterilization (15.5%), condoms (9.4%), and long-acting reversible contraceptives (7.2%). Continue Reading »
We know that you can be fat while still fit, but how about skinny and unhealthy? This may be the case for many Asian-Americans who look slim, but actually face a higher risk of diabetes than people belonging to other ethnic groups. Continue Reading »
Physical complaints can be difficult to articulate, especially when they are vague or intermittent. Like a car’s problems that vanish when you take it to the mechanic, symptoms often elude us when we’re at the doctor’s office. But when you can’t explain your symptoms, you increase the chances of unnecessary tests, needless trial-and-error treatments and even misdiagnosis. Continue Reading »
Few doctors are as dedicated to the Me & My OBG campaign and to District XI ACOG (Texas) than Dr. G. Sealy Massingill, our ‘Doc of the Month.’ Dr. Massingill’s participation has not only helped his fellow doctors, but also helped educate Texas women so that they may make more informed decisions about their health care. Continue Reading »
With the next legislative session a month away, lawmakers are preparing to move forward with a planned consolidation of the state’s five health agencies into a single commission.
Members of the Sunset Advisory Commission, a panel that includes lawmakers and makes periodic reviews of state agencies and programs, unanimously approved on Wednesday a recommendation to combine the massive Health and Human Services Commission and the four smaller agencies it oversees. Continue Reading »
There is a significant amount of adults in Texas who are not immunized for recommended vaccinations, meaning that they are at an increased risk of developing vaccine-preventable diseases. The Department of State Health Services provides an Adult Immunization Schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and/or the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC). Continue Reading »
On December 3, San Antonio Metro Health released its 2013 Teen Pregnancy Report and Fact Sheet for Bexar County. There were 2,558 births to females ages 15 to 19 – a decline of nearly 700 births since 2010. The 2013 teen birth ratedropped to 40.1 per 1,000 – a 42 percent decline since 2000. Continue Reading »
In recent years, we’ve made great strides in encouraging vaccination in pregnant women. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, influenza vaccination rates in pregnant women increased from 15% to around 47%. Since then, rates have been sustained around 50%, increasing to 53% in the 2013-14 flu season. However, there are still patients who choose not to be vaccinated, possibly due to misinformation about vaccines. Continue Reading »
Texas’ women’s health and family planning programs have been mired in politics and uncertainty in recent years, and they could be in for another big change as a review panel of legislators and policy experts considers a major overhaul of state health departments. Continue Reading »
HARLINGEN — Dr. Susan Hunter, Gynecologic Surgeon, has performed the Valley’s first robotic-assisted hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) surgery through a single small incision in a patient’s navel (belly button), using a new type of surgical instrumentation. Continue Reading »
How many flashes should I have? Doesn’t getting old mean sex will be painful? Will I break my hip like Aunt Mary? I don’t want to die from breast cancer like Sue! My cardiologist told me NEVER to take hormones. Continue Reading »
When asked to identify the most pressing issues facing women’s health in Texas today, Dr. Jason Parker doesn’t hesitate: education and access to health care. He suggests that, as physicians and as a state, we all need to understand the importance of educating women about their own health care. What’s more, that we need to provide women meaningful health care tools that empower them to live healthy lifestyles and this begins with access to care. Continue Reading »
Annual assessments provide an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about preventive care and to provide or refer for recommended services. These assessments should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors. Continue Reading »
Please join us for the last Texas Department of State Health Services Grand Rounds presentation of the fall semester, Preventing the First Cesarean Delivery: Practical Application of the Evidence, on Wednesday, November 12, from 11:00-12:30 p.m. in the K-100 Lecture Hall in Austin by the Lobby (see Central Campus-Austin map) and via live webinar. Continue Reading »
November 9-15 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, an event designed to recognize the contributions that nurse practitioners (NPs) make to our health care system. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are more than 192,000 NPs practicing in the US today, approximately 8% of whom focus on women’s health. Continue Reading »
One young woman was 21, married a year and, along with her husband, was thrilled to be pregnant. Another was a 33 year old mother of two who had remarried and was now pregnant with what would be her husband’s first child. The third woman was a high school student who had not planned to get pregnant, but thankfully had family support and planned to keep her baby and finish her studies. Continue Reading »
“No Blood, just Sweat and Tears” is the title of a talk I give on menopause to women’s groups. Most women who hear this chuckle, so if you do not understand the play on words, then you are too young to be reading this blog post! Seriously, though, as a fellow woman who is also in this era of her life, I’ve got a few thoughts on this topic. Continue Reading »
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual periods. The years leading up to this point are called perimenopause, or “around menopause.” Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years that began in puberty. Continue Reading »
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month — an important time to increase awareness of this public health issue. Domestic violence or interpersonal violence (IPV) can have a profound impact on the health, safety, and well-being of women and men, children, and other family members. Continue Reading »
Domestic violence has been in the news a lot lately. Intimate partner violence (also known as IPV or domestic violence) is not new, but it is widespread. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how staggering the problem is: over 38 million women in the United States experience violence at the hand of a husband, boyfriend, or other partner during their lifetime. Continue Reading »
Carrie Kaufman was looking for a career that would combine her passion for feminism with her passion for science. ‘I’m a very hands-on person. I like fixing things. I was thinking about going to school to be a midwife until I realized how much I enjoy surgery. I decided on traditional medical school and the OB-GYN path and made a commitment to myself to include both science and feminism in my practice.’ Continue Reading »
There is a catchword for October among women who have been treated for or are living with breast cancer: Pinktober. The reason is on full display on television one Sunday afternoon as my boyfriend cheers on his NFL team: pink cleats, pink towels, pink goalposts, coaches with pink ribbons and a male announcer promoting the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” campaign. Continue Reading »
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed more than a dozen Texas abortion clinics to reopen, blocking a state law that had imposed strict requirements on abortion providers. Had the law been allowed to stand, it would have caused all but eight of the state’s abortion clinics to close and would have required many women to travel more than 150 miles to the nearest abortion provider. Continue Reading »
Publicly-funded family planning services help low-income Americans avoid serious health conditions while saving billions of dollars each year, according to a new analysis — benefits that go beyond providing contraception that can prevent unintended pregnancies. Continue Reading »
Annual assessments provide an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about preventive care and to provide or refer for recommended services. These assessments should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors. The interval for individual services varies. Continue Reading »
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) affirm our shared goal of safe women’s health care in the United States through the promotion of evidence-based models provided by obstetricians-gynecologists (ob-gyns), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and certified midwives (CMs). Continue Reading »
No one wants to worry about complications from surgery, but risks do exist and they’re one reason that surgery should be performed only when indicated and when the patient is informed of both the benefits and the risks involved. Continue Reading »
Contraception prevents pregnancy. It follows, then, that widespread access to contraception among certain populations can reduce pregnancy rates in those populations. Right? Well that’s exactly what an important new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found with regard to teenagers. Continue Reading »
Dr. Jennings: Protecting the Patient-Physician Relationship: Why Ob-Gyns Need to Talk With Patients About Gun Safety →
In order to deliver the best health care, ob-gyns must develop strong relationships with our patients. We need to discuss sensitive issues in the exam room, including sexual health, family planning, mental health, and domestic violence concerns. Keeping the line of communication unhindered allows physicians to provide the needed information to keep patients healthy. Continue Reading »
For decades, OB-GYNs have offered prenatal tests to expectant moms to uncover potential issues, including Down syndrome, before they give birth. However, some tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, carry health risks, including miscarriage. For some women, the risks can be greater than the potential benefits from information they would gain. Continue Reading »
The number of privately-insured women getting no-cost birth control pills has more than quadrupled under Obamacare, new data from the Guttmacher Institute shows. Continue Reading »
Ectopic pregnancy is any fertilized egg that is growing and developing outside of the uterus, or womb. The most common location for ectopic pregnancies to be found is in the fallopian tube, which carries the egg to the uterus after ovulation. Ectopic pregnancies can also be found on the ovary, in the cervix, or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Continue Reading »
The Me & My OBG ‘Doc of the Month’ is Jennifer Bump, M.D., M.B.A., Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Bump provides extraordinary care for women by first fostering an environment of trust. Continue Reading »
Republican candidates are falling madly in love with contraception.
Who knew? Continue Reading »
Infertility treatment is a numbers game in some respects: How many treatments will it take to conceive a child? And how much can you afford? Continue Reading »
A federal judge on Friday struck down new requirements for Texas abortion facilities — a decision that could have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state. The standards were set to go into effect Monday. Continue Reading »
The first step in overcoming infertility is to undergo an infertility evaluation. During the evaluation, questions will be asked and tests conducted to give your physician clues to the cause of infertility and ultimately lead to the development of an effective treatment plan. Continue Reading »
Those who favor women being guaranteed no-cost birth control coverage under their health insurance say the new rules for nonprofit religious organizations issued by the Obama administration simply put into force what the Supreme Court suggested last month. Continue Reading »
Smartphone apps are changing the landscape of healthcare. Thanks to the proliferation of fitness devices and mobile health monitoring and maintenance applications, never before have so many patients been equipped to manage their health conditions. Continue Reading »
Ob-gyns know the critical role contraception plays in preventive care for women. When patients need a prescription for contraception, we expect that they will be able to fill it without hassle. Unfortunately for many women, that isn’t the case. Continue Reading »
Paper charts are gradually becoming a thing of the past at many doctors’ offices. Tablet computing has revolutionized the medical field. Creative displays and interactive content are making doctor visits a more collaborative process. Continue Reading »
The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is Judy Levison, MD, MPH. of Houston, Texas. Dr. Levison is an Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the Baylor College of Medicine and is Physician Coordinator of OB/GYN care for HIV-positive women in the Harris Health System. Continue Reading »
On Monday, a federal court struck down Alabama’s medically unnecessary law that singles out doctors who provide abortions and requires them to secure admitting privileges at a local hospital. The court called the justification for the law “exceedingly weak.” Continue Reading »
When Elizabeth O’Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally. Continue Reading »
One of the most nerve-racking doctor’s visits of my life was my first visit to my gynecologist when I was just 17 years old. I was headed off to college in a few months, and my mother thought it was the right time for me to develop a relationship with a women’s health care provider. I played it cool and acted like I was completely unfazed. Truth of the matter is I was terrified, mainly because I had no idea what to expect. Continue Reading »
The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is coming up with a work-around to ensure that employees of certain charities, hospitals and colleges whose leaders have religious objections to contraceptives can still get birth control through their employee health insurance plans. Continue Reading »
Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to fill the gaps in access to health care for the state’s poorest women, three years after making sharp cuts to the state’s family planning budget and rejecting a federally financed women’s health program in favor of their own. Continue Reading »
The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is Karen G. Swenson, M.D. of Austin, Texas. Dr. Swenson earned a B.S. in Nutrition Science with highest honors from the University of California, Davis and received her medical training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Continue Reading »
Annika Levitt initially resisted the fertility clinic’s suggestion that only one embryo — rather than the usual two or more — be transferred to her uterus because she was too small to risk carrying more than one baby. Continue Reading »
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) President John C. Jennings, MD, today released the following statement regarding introduction of the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act:
“Contraception plays an essential role in women’s preventive care, and contraception decisions should be made by a woman and her physician, based on her unique needs and preferences – not by anyone else. A woman’s boss has no role to play in her personal health care decisions. Continue Reading »
HOBBY LOBBY: Murray, Udall to Introduce Legislative Fix to Protect Women’s Health in Aftermath of Supreme Court Decision →
Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Continue Reading »
Put aside the political and religious fights for a moment. There’s a simple fact about contraception that gets lost in much of the coverage: it saves money. Lots of money. Continue Reading »
DALLAS — Charmaine Carbs thought that she would be the only senior at her high school to walk across the stage pregnant at graduation. She was wrong.
“It was a whole gang,” said Carbs, who got pregnant at 17 while attending North Garland High School and is now the 21-year-old mother of Klarissa, 2, and Khloe, 2 months. Continue Reading »
If you’re confused about the need for annual gynecologic well-woman visits, or what they should include, you’re not alone.
Earlier this week, the American College of Physicians (ACP), a national organization of internists,announced new guidelines that recommend against yearly pelvic exams for low-risk women. Continue Reading »
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President John C. Jennings released the following statements regarding today’s decision by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell: Continue Reading »
Up against bad PR and a lack of awareness, reproductive health groups are leading the charge to make the IUD a first line of defense against unplanned pregnancy. It won’t be easy. Continue Reading »
The nation’s second-largest physicians’ organization said Monday that healthy women who are not pregnant do not need routine pelvic exams, a controversial recommendation based on its analysis that, on balance, the manual screening does more harm than good. Continue Reading »
The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections. Continue Reading »
Americans are waiting longer to become parents. Whatever the pros and cons of that trend, here’s some potentially good news for those older moms: They may be more likely to live longer. Continue Reading »
Out of hospital births are still relatively rare in the United States, accounting for less than 1.5% of all births, and approximately a quarter of these are unplanned or unattended. While the number of planned home births is low, the rate has consistently increased over the past several years. Continue Reading »
Did you know that half of pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned? And did you know that planned pregnancies are better for mothers’ and infants’ health? That’s why the U.S. Office of Population Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released formal recommendations on family planning services. Continue Reading »
An online resource can assist businesses in supporting breastfeeding women at work, Nancy C. Lee, M.D., director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) said today at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference and exposition. The resource, Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions, can be found atwww.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding-at-work. It proposes ways in which employers can comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to have accommodations for employees who are breastfeeding. Continue Reading »
Two Junes ago, we were waiting on a major Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. It’s funny how history repeats itself. Continue Reading »
Cindy Wachenheim was someone people didn’t think they had to worry about. She was a levelheaded lawyer working for the State Supreme Court, a favorite aunt who got down on the floor to play with her nieces and nephews, and, finally, in her 40s, the mother she had long dreamed of becoming. Continue Reading »
Texas is the second largest state in the country, and has the second largest population. Indeed, everything is bigger there—including the need for affordable health coverage, and for accessible sexual and reproductive health services and information. More than six million Texans have no health insurance of any kind, including 2.4 million adult women. (1,2) And more Texas women are in need of subsidized family planning services than anywhere else in the country, except California. (3) Continue Reading »
The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is John Thoppil, MD, FACOG of Austin, TX. Dr. Thoppil is a dedicated advocate for Texas women and the doctors that serve them. He offered his expertise during the 2013 Legislative Session at a hearing of the House Committee on Public Health. He also contributes blog posts to the Me and My OBG Campaign, most recently reminding women to ‘Get the Flu Shot.’
For the past few years, you have suffered from heavy menstrual cycles. At your annual examination a few months ago, your gynecologist recommended you consider a hysterectomy since all other attempts to control your symptoms conservatively have failed. Since that appointment, you have thought a great deal about her suggestion, researched the topic of hysterectomy extensively, and you think you are ready to move forward with the surgery. Continue Reading »
Your health isn’t just important to you — it’s important to us, too. For the past 30 years, the HHS Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health (CCWH)has been leading the charge to help women and girls achieve the best possible health. I’m happy to say we’ve come a long way. Continue Reading »
What’s my advice on how you can take care of your sexual and reproductive health? Honor yourself, foster healthy relationships, take care of your body, and get the preventive care and screenings you need. Continue Reading »
Female doctors and nurses whose specialty is family planning are seven times more likely than women in the general population to use intrauterine devices (IUDs) for their own contraception, a new study suggests. Continue Reading »
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is soliciting applications to fill three positions on the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. One position is for a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Texas; the second position is for a hospital representative; and the third position is for a healthcare provider who is involved in the delivery of newborn screening services, follow-up, or treatment in this state. Continue Reading »
Texas has almost 400,000 births a year, accounting for a whopping 10 percent of all births in the country. Because breastfeeding—specifically, exclusive breastfeeding for six months or more—has a host of health benefits, hospitals and birth centers around the country have begun to change their policies and procedures to better support mothers who want to breastfeed and reverse current low rates of breastfeeding. Continue Reading »
A recent Consumer Reports investigation looked at 1,500 hospitals in 22 states, ranking the hospitals based on c-section rates. Those with low c-section rates were ranked better than those with higher c-section rates. Consumer Reports is consulted by many consumers when buying kitchen appliances, cars, and electronics, but I caution consumers that are using this list to choose where to have their baby or a practice to care for their reproductive health. Continue Reading »
Recent reports of rising cesarean delivery rates in the United States are a significant concern, both to the public and to those of us who are practicing obstetrics. Cesarean delivery rates vary dramatically across geographic areas of the country but also from one neighboring hospital to the next. Continue Reading »
The recent death from pertussis of a baby in the Austin area has focused attention once again on the resurgence of this disease, also known as whooping cough. Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine have completed a study on the effectiveness of vaccinating pregnant women before they give birth. Continue Reading »
Pregnancy is a nine-month marathon. Or maybe an extreme obstacle course – demanding mere mortal women to (literally) stretch themselves as they haul loads of increasingly heavy human life, share their bodies and nutrients with it, and then push the child out with superhuman strength. It’s a marathon women have been running since forever, and yet it still amazes us and raises questions – questions like, “Should you really exercise during pregnancy?” Continue Reading »
As opponents of strict abortion regulations protested at the Texas Capitol last summer, many vowed that voters would remember come November which side of the issue lawmakers fell on. Continue Reading »
The Claim: Laboring in a tub of water helps relax expectant mothers, significantly relieving the pain of childbirth. Continue Reading »
Since they premiered, MTV reality shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have raised whoa-so-many eyebrows. A very vocal contingent of dismayed adults feared the shows glamorized teen pregnancy. That the young moms on the show often graced the covers of magazines such as Us Weekly only further proved that point: teenagers watching the show, the thinking went, would be jealous of the teen moms’ lives and celebrity. Bring on the pregnancy pacts! Unprotected sex for everyone, everywhere! Continue Reading »
Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals occurs every day, to everyone, everywhere across America. Due to deficiencies in the current regulatory regime, toxic chemicals are in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the products in our homes. As obstetricians, we know that preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic chemicals is antithetical to healthy pregnancies, healthy children and healthy future generations. Continue Reading »
An experimental drug has shown encouraging results in treating advanced breast cancer in an early clinical trial, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported Sunday. Continue Reading »
In April, we commemorate National Minority Health Month, a time to raise awareness about health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minorities. This year’s theme – “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity” – embodies the ambitious goal put forward by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to achieve “a nation free of disparities in health and health care.” Continue Reading »
Our Fellows and Junior Fellows are the backbone of ACOG. They are the workhorses, the change artists, the ones who challenge us to do so much more. We rely on their vision, insight, and their ability to lead. Continue Reading »
Q: Is weight gain at menopause inevitable?
At menopause, I experienced a sudden and dramatic weight gain. I was healthy and exercised moderately five times a week for 30-plus years; I have always been careful about my diet, eating only healthy fresh food that I prepare myself. I am not sleep deprived. After trying various diets, I cannot get rid of this extra 15 pounds, and I’ve moved into the officially “overweight” category. What happened? Am I doomed to eat only lettuce in the future? Continue Reading »
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the new abortion regulations that were passed in July by the Republican-led Texas Legislature. Continue Reading »
For most sexually active men and women, preventing unplanned pregnancy is a priority, and the rate of unplanned pregnancy is a key indicator of a population’s reproductive health. Unfortunately, both the rate of unplanned pregnancy and the percentage of pregnancies that are unplanned are increasing, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Continue Reading »
During Women’s History Month, I’ve reflected on contraception. The development of the birth control pill over fifty years ago was a turning point for women, allowing them to pursue opportunities outside the home. As a family medicine physician, I enjoy helping women control their fertility and plan their pregnancies. Continue Reading »
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear two landmark cases about the validity of a rule under Obamacare that employer health plans must cover emergency contraceptives for female employees without co-pays. Continue Reading »
President Obama’s health care law gets a return engagement at the Supreme Court next week in a case full of hot-button issues: religious freedom, corporate rights, federal regulation, abortion and contraception. Continue Reading »
If you watch any daytime TV at all, you’ve probably seen the ads asking you if you’ve ever taken a variety of medications, followed by a list of bad things that have happened to some people who HAVE taken them, followed by a lawyer’s phone number. In my office, the most common offenders are the birth control pill and the birth control patch. Continue Reading »
Doctors’ groups are urging ob-gyns to have those difficult conversations with women: lose weight or put your pregnancy at risk Continue Reading »
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a religious dispute over the Obamacare contraception mandate, advocates on both sides are trying to set the court straight on the science. Continue Reading »
Matthew Katz, MD is Medical Director, Radiation Oncology at Lowell General Hospital in the Greater Boston Area. But those on Twitter and in the blogosphere know him as “subatomicdoc”: a ‘handle’ he’s been using for a number of years on the Internet. Continue Reading »
Health technology startups shone this year at South by Southwest Interactive. Continue Reading »
This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Equality for women is progress for all,” spilled over into an impassioned conversation or all-out fight about male roles in feminism and women’s health. As an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS work with South Asian communities in Toronto our perspectives about how men and boys engage with women’s health have been primarily shaped by experiences on the frontlines. But our views are sometimes divergent. Continue Reading »
Some of the poorest seniors in Texas live in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley.
Many only speak Spanish and don’t have access to the basics, like food or medical care. But a Texas A&M professor and his team of community health workers – or “promotoras de salud” – are trying to find ways to help seniors along the border improve those conditions. Continue Reading »
After spending last Thursday listening to the Senate hearing on the Women’s Health Programs, it’s obvious that Texas women and the doctors who serve them are energized about women’s health issues.
Many present at the Texas State Capital event expressed a sense of urgency. State Senators were demanding results from state programs, citizens were pleading for health care access, and physicians were looking for clarity on the mechanics of the new requirements. Our state appears to be at an important turning point when it comes to health care delivery for Texas women. And you and I, as members of the Me & My OBGcampaign, must make sure that we stay part of the conversation and that we do all we can to affect the decisions made in Austin. We must emphasize our primary objectives:
- To keep Legislators out of the physician/patient relationship.
- To keep and expand programs that provide contraception and preventive care services for Texas women.
- To ensure all women in Texas receive the care they deserve by providing accurate information and sound advice.
Now is the time to talk with your elected public officials about your concerns surrounding women’s health care in Texas. Let them know how you feel about women’s health issues and what is important to you. Be sure to vote and encourage your friends and family to vote as well. Together we can make a difference!
Dr. Moss Hampton
We are thrilled to invite you to continue an amazing conversation about the impact women are having on politics, policy, the economy — and each other. Continue Reading »
With abortion rights advocates gathered nearby, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee met in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss Texas’ efforts to expand access to women’s health services across the state. Continue Reading »
Women with low-risk pregnancies should be allowed to spend more time in labor, to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary C-section, the nation’s obstetricians say. Continue Reading »
You would think that a vaccine that could prevent cancer would be an easy sell, but that’s hasn’t proven to be true so far with the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
Just 33 percent of girls and less than 7 percent of boys in the U.S. have gotten all three recommended doses of the vaccine to protect against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical and other cancers. Continue Reading »
The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to assess Texas’ efforts to expand access to women’s health services across the state. But abortion rights advocates say an essential issue has been left off the agenda — the impact of strict abortion regulations that the Legislature passed last year. Continue Reading »
One of the hardest things a physician must do is provide accurate, balanced counseling to their patients, particularly regarding controversial subjects. We are inundated everyday with new research and recommendations. On top of this, the imperative to practice evidence-based-medicine grows everyday. Continue Reading »
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) regarding mammography screening has prompted renewed discussion about the value of mammograms in reducing deaths from breast cancer among women. Based on a number of concerns with the BMJ study, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintains its recommendation that mammography screening be offered annually to women beginning at age 40. Continue Reading »
Speaker Straus has issued interim charges to every standing committee of the Texas House of Representatives. The assigned charges highlight issues that the House will study in preparation for the next legislative session that begins in January 2015. The committee charges are based upon requests and suggestion made by House Members as well as legislative priorities of Speaker Straus. Continue Reading »
Women who take aspirin daily may reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent, according to a study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. However, further research is needed before clinical recommendations can be made. The study was published Feb. 6, 2014, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Continue Reading »
The question of how often women should get mammograms remains contested, with advisory panels and medical societies disagreeing on how early and how often they should be used to find breast cancer. Continue Reading »
Q. I have health insurance through my husband’s union. I need to have my IUD removed and replaced and it is not covered by insurance. The self-pay price is over $1,000. Is there anything I can do about this?
A. You can appeal the coverage denial to your health plan. Under the health law, patients generally don’t have to pay anything out of pocket for medical care that’s considered preventive, and contraceptives are included in that definition. Continue Reading »
A young woman’s first visit to the gynecologist may be intimidating. Yet parents and physicians can play a big role in helping put her at ease. The more information provided to a patient in advance of her appointment is likely to make the experience less worrisome. Continue Reading »
The New Year is here and everyone is trying to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. I have had countless conversations with friends about their decisions to eat healthier and go to the gym more often. In fact, many New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting healthier. However, it is important that we not forget about preventive health in our quest to eat more veggies and to hit the gym. This month is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. It is particularly important to us here at NCLR because of the impact it has on the Latina community. Continue Reading »
WHAT would Marlise Munoz have made of all of this?
We’ll never know. She can no longer form words. Can no longer formthoughts. It’s arguable that we shouldn’t even be referring to a “she,” to a “her,” because if she’s brain-dead, as her family has consistently said, then she meets the legal criteria for death in all 50 states, and what’s been tethered to machines in a hospital in Fort Worth for the last seven weeks isn’t exactly a mother. Continue Reading »
Ida, a resident of Donna, is living with the human papillomavirus (HPV), an infection that can lead to cervical cancer. She has had cervical cysts removed in the past and doctors have told her she needs a Pap test every six months. Sadly, Ida isn’t able to get the test because it’s simply too expensive. “Either I pay $60 or I buy food for my children. … It’s one or the other, but not both,” she said. “Being unable to see a doctor has me worried sick. I’m so afraid of the virus coming back.” Continue Reading »
There you are, present and as ready as you will ever be for this year’s round of “I just need to survive my annual well woman exam,” and as you shiver in the thin gown and drape on the end of the examination table, a nurse comes in and says, “I forgot to mention that the doctor has a medical student with her today. Is that okay?” So there you are. Stuck. You have to give her an answer. In the few seconds before you do, you think to yourself that the last thing you want is for anyone else to see you bare all and become privy to your most private of medical issues. Continue Reading »
Since ousting Planned Parenthood clinics from the Women’s Health Program, which provides cancer screening, well-woman exams and contraception for low-income women, state leaders have made a concerted effort to recruit physician groups to fill the void. Continue Reading »
After an expectant mom in California posted photos of herself lifting weights during a CrossFit workout at eight months pregnant, there was a lot of controversy in the media about the safety of this fitness regimen during pregnancy. I recently learned about some of the comments that voiced concern and outrage, some comparing this mother’s workout to drinking or smoking. Continue Reading »
Washington, DC — The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) filed a joint amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of Planned Parenthood’s challenge to Texas House Bill (HB) 2. ACOG and the AMA oppose HB 2 because it imposes government regulation on abortion care that jeopardizes the health of women in Texas and denies them access to the safest and most effective evidence-based protocols for medical abortions. Continue Reading »
The teen birth rate in Bexar County has dropped by a whopping 15% in the last 2 years. On December 10, teens from Metro Health’s Project WORTH unveiled the 2012 Teen Pregnancy Report, showing San Antonio’s tremendous progress in teen pregnancy prevention, achieving an important SA2020 goal in only two years. Still, we have a long way to go: our teen birth rate is still 46% higher than the national rate among females ages 15 to 19. Continue Reading »
I received the Tdap (combined tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination in the past 10 years. Why do I need to get another one while I’m pregnant? Continue Reading »
“I heard that exercise during pregnancy can help boost my baby’s brain development—is that true?”
A recent study suggests that yes, it can, but there are many reasons to be active during pregnancy. Continue Reading »
The Perinatal Advisory Council, created by House Bill 15 of the 83rd Texas Legislature (Regular Session), develops and recommends criteria for designating levels of neonatal and maternal care, including specifying the minimum requirements to qualify for each level designation and a process for the assignment of levels of care to a hospital, makes recommendations for dividing the state into neonatal and maternal care regions, examines utilization trends in neonatal and maternal care, and recommends ways to improve neonatal and maternal outcomes. Continue Reading »
n fiscal year 2013 – for the second year in a row – the number of women served by the state’s family planning budget dropped dramatically, while costing the state significantly more money per patient. Continue Reading »
There has been quite a bit of discussion over the past several weeks about the issues and troubles with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last week, as the President apologized for difficulties in ACA implementation, many Americans took to the web voicing their displeasure. For 12 hours after the President’s address, my Twitter feed was the political equivalent of “he said, she said,” and unfortunately, from time-to-time, things got ugly. Continue Reading »
A new analysis finds that the tax costs of Texas births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled over $1.34 billion in 2008. This is the second highest total of any state (behind California). The study found that, nationwide, government expenditures on births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled $12.5 billion in 2008 (the latest year for which data are available). Continue Reading »
“Hey Doc, should I get a flu shot? I never get sick.” Continue Reading »
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s opinion found that a provision requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health.” Yeakel also blocked Texas from enforcing a provision regulating the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs. Continue Reading »
A pregnancy is not full term until 39 weeks, according to a new set of definitions endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. This represents an important change from the old understanding under which pregnancy was considered full term from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. Continue Reading »
In the face of projected doctor shortages and debate about the future of medicine, a record number of students applied to, and started, medical school this year. Continue Reading »
The health insurance marketplaces are finally open, though technical problems have hindered sign-ups.
With the deadlines for , people want details about the available plans and access to health savings accounts. Some also want to know about penalties if they don’t buy insurance. Here are some recent questions and answers. Continue Reading »
Mom-to-be closing in on her due date? The nation’s obstetricians are getting more precise about exactly how close makes for a full-term pregnancy.
On average, a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. That’s how a due date is estimated. Continue Reading »
The battle over Texas’ controversial new abortion law will hit the courtroom Monday as part of a legal challenge seeking to squash elements of the Republican-led mandate that sparked mass protests at the Legislature over the summer. Continue Reading »
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes laws that jeopardize women’s health care and interfere with the patient-physician relationship. Continue Reading »
-It is a sad reality that women, over half of the population of the United States, are regularly denied health insurance because of pregnancy or preexisting conditions such as breast cancer.
On top of that, women have historically been subject to higher health insurance premiums than men simply because of their gender. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act aims to fix these problems and more for women.
The Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance plans to include coverage for medical services in 10 categories of so-called essential health benefits. These categories include everything from emergency coverage to prescription drugs. Of particular interest to women among the essential benefits are coverage for maternity care, newborn care and pediatric care.
Preventive medical care is also an essential benefit category that helps women in particular. In addition to annual physicals, every plan must cover such female-specific services as annual well-woman visits and routine mammograms with zero out-of-pocket costs at the doctor’s office.
What you have to know about the essential health benefits categories is that they are just that: categories, meaning that the specific medical services in each section are not written in stone.
The federal government left it to each state to figure out what exact medical services will be covered as essential benefits within its borders, rather than impose a national standard. For example, things that might be considered part of maternity coverage in one state may not be such in another, and vice versa.
Each state determined its essential health benefits by choosing an existing health insurance plan that then became the benchmark for essential benefits. Every plan sold under the Affordable Care Act has to match the medical services established by the state’s benchmark plan. To find out what your state’s benchmark plan looks like check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s list here.
Historically women in America would often be charged higher premiums than men because of a number of factors, not the least of which is a potential pregnancy. Under the Affordable Care Act women cannot be charged higher premiums than men when buying insurance as an individual. This is sure to provide a welcome relief to many freelance and self-employed women looking for health insurance.
The fact that people can’t be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition is great news for everyone and for some women in particular. Women with breast cancer, or a history of it, can rest easy knowing they won’t be denied an insurance plan because of their condition.
Insurers have in the past also been quite fond of denying coverage to pregnant women because of their pregnancy. While you might not think “preexisting condition” is the best term for pregnancy, its classification as such by the Affordable Care Act means that pregnant women don’t have to worry about being rejected from getting insurance.
Whatever your overall opinion of the Affordable Care Act, there is no denying that it is going to help women receive fairer treatment from health insurance companies.
Premiums will be more affordable and a number of costly services will be easier to pay for. We can hope that as the years go on, the health care situation for women will only continue to improve.
The Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative will help residents in Harris and 12 surrounding counties explore affordable health insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Continue Reading »
In the US, 50% of all pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraception (EC) provides women with a last chance to prevent pregnancy. A woman may find EC useful if she recently engaged in unprotected sex and is not taking birth control, or is uncertain if her birth control is effective. EC is not intended to be used as the primary method of birth control, but rather as a back up. It also does not protect against STDs. Continue Reading »
The Texas Tribune Festival will take place this weekend, September 27-29, 2013 on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The Festival is an event ‘for people who are passionate about the issues that affect all Texans.’ The weekend of debate and dialogue features the biggest names in Texas politics and public policy, including more than 150 speakers and 45 interactive events. On Saturday, September 28, a great deal of time will be devoted to health care, including a 4:25 PM panel that will focus on women’s health. Continue Reading »
Athena Mason’s first doctor’s visit as a student at Texas A&M University was a bit awkward. She had gone in for a basic checkup, but the physician noticed something else. Continue Reading »
According to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, unintended pregnancies in the United States are increasingly concentrated among low-income women. In fact, between 1994 – 2006, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes that fall below the national poverty level rose to five times the rate of women at the highest income levels. Continue Reading »
As we mentioned last week, on September 1, 2013 almost 700 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect. Here we spotlight other new laws that will have a direct impact on Texas women and their health: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue Reading »
As the state health department prepares to implement strict abortion facility regulations approved by lawmakers in July, abortion rights advocates continue to voice concerns that the rules will endanger women by limiting access to safe, legal abortion. Continue Reading »
September 1, 2013 marks a significant time for our state – it’s on that day that almost 700 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect. Over the next two weeks, we’ll spotlight what new laws will have a direct impact on T exas women and their health: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue Reading »
HOUSTON — When Anastasia Tolmasoff went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in March to receive her quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, she discovered she could no longer afford to receive birth control there. Continue Reading »
Twenty-two Texas counties are among the nation’s 30 worst for health insurance coverage, according to a report released Thursday by the left-leaning Center For American Progress. Continue Reading »
The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition has raised concerns that a bipartisan effort to restore access to family planning services by expanding a state-run primary care program isn’t shaping up as planned. Continue Reading »
The number of claims filed for medical and family planning services in the new state-run Texas Women’s Health Program has dropped since the state ousted Planned Parenthood from it and set up its own program without federal financing, according to figures from the Health and Human Services Commission. Continue Reading »
The Plan B One-Step morning-after pill will now be available to women as young as 15 without a prescription, and will have another three years of protection from generic competition. Continue Reading »
Imagine what it must be like to have information regarding one of the arguably most personal and intimate lifetime events, broadcast throughout the world in dramatic detail. How many weeks was she? When was the baby due? Did she use pain medication? Did she deliver by cesarean? How long will she stay in the hospital? Will she breastfeed or bottle-feed? Family, friend and societal opinion and expectations regarding pregnancy, labor, delivery and childcare can be stress inducing even for those without the eyes of the world cast upon them. Continue Reading »
Friday night, House Bill 2, the omnibus bill restricting women’s healthcare choices, was passed by the Texas Senate and is now on its way to the Governor to be signed into law.
Twenty amendments were offered to try to improve the bill, like an exception for victims of rape/incest, an exception to protect the mental health of the woman, and provisions to help clinics in rural areas. None were accepted. Continue Reading »
All eyes are on Texas again this week as the fate of a far-reaching measure to restrict abortions and close many abortion facilities faces its last days of debate. Unlike almost any other issue, abortion generates strong feelings on all sides. This is true within our own organization, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and we respect that our 58,000 members have deeply held personal beliefs on this topic. Continue Reading »
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly opposes Senate Bill 1 (formerly Senate Bill 5 in the previous session) and House Bill 2 under consideration in the Texas legislature. Both bills are plainly intended to restrict the reproductive rights of women in Texas through a series of requirements that improperly regulate medical practice and interfere with the patient-physician relationship. Continue Reading »
Texas-ACOG opposes SB 5 by Senator Hegar and HB 60 by Representative Laubenberg. SB 5/HB 60 is an accumulation of all the measures we opposed during the 83rd Regular session and remain opposed to in this special session. Continue Reading »
Seven months pregnant, at a time when most expectant couples are stockpiling diapers and choosing car seats, Renée Martin was struggling with bigger purchases.
At a prenatal class in March, she was told about epidural anesthesia and was given the option of using a birthing tub during labor. To each offer, she had one gnawing question: “How much is that going to cost?” Continue Reading »
Despite strong resistance from religious organizations, the Obama administration said Friday that it was moving ahead with a rule requiring most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, a decision that has touched off a legal and political battle likely to rage for another year. Continue Reading »
June 23, 2013
Members of the Texas House of Representatives
1101 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is an organization with more than 58,000 OB/GYNs and partners in women’s health across the U.S. The Texas District of ACOG has a membership of 3,600 OB/GYNs and partners in health. Continue Reading »
The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Texas-ACOG) opposes HB 60 by Representative Laubenberg. HB 60 is an accumulation of all the measures we opposed during the 83rd Regular session and remain opposed to in this special session. Continue Reading »
Legislative Interference with Patient Care, Medical Decisions, and the Patient-Physician Relationship →
Government serves a valuable role in the protection of public health and safety and the provision of essential health services. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) support this proper role of government. Laws that veer from these functions and unduly interfere with patient-physician relationships are not appropriate. Continue Reading »
Washington, DC — Government should not interfere with the patient-physician relationship without a substantial public health justification, according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In a new Statement of Policy approved by its Executive Board, ACOG states its objections to laws forcing physicians to give or withhold specific information when counseling patients or that mandate specific treatments, tests, and procedures. Continue Reading »
It’s National Women’s Health Week! One of the best ways to celebrate the occasion is to honor those working to ensure that Texas women can access the medical care they need to stay healthy. We encourage you to reach out to the Texas Legislators below to thank them for fighting for women’s health care delivery based upon medicine, not politics. Tell them you join Me & My OBG in recognition of their efforts during National Women’s Health Week. Encourage them to continue the good fight!
- State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
- State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
- State Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)
- State Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)
- State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston)
- State Rep. Sarah Davis (R-W. University Place)
- State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin)
- State Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston)
- State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin)
- State Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston)
- State Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton)
The political fireworks and high-octane drama that accompanied lawmakers’ 2011 fight over women’s health care and abortion have been absent this legislative session. They have been replaced with some semblance of concession, as legislators on both sides of the aisle work quietly to restore financing for women’s health services. Continue Reading »
In an effort to find a compromise for a politically fraught issue, the Food and Drug Administration has to make the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B more available to some younger teens without a prescription and to older women by moving the medication out from behind the pharmacy counter. Continue Reading »
Who’s in charge here? It’s a legitimate question being asked by more physicians in all areas of the country as they struggle to provide good quality care. Yes, physicians face long-standing payment and coverage issues, regulations, and the insurance bureaucracy. But more and more often, physicians are struggling to care for their patients in the face of legislative interference that reaches right into their exam rooms. Continue Reading »
If you’ve been to your women’s health provider recently, you may have been surprised when she did not recommend or perform your annual Pap smear. What’s up?
For more than 50 years, women have heard about the importance of an annual Pap test, the test that screens for problems that may lead to pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix, (the opening to the uterus). But, research in the last 20 years has led to the conclusion that the previous methods for screening and treating may be too aggressive and may cause more problems than they prevent. By studying large numbers of women, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical dysplasia, we have come to understand that although large numbers of women may be exposed to the virus, only a small number will develop problems that require treatment. Most women with a healthy immune system will be able to clear the virus, and reverse its effects on their own without needing treatment. Continue Reading »
The Legislature first passed an “informed-consent-to-abortion” law in 2003. It included publication of the “Woman’s Right to Know” pamphlet – supposedly to inform women about fetal development and the hazards of abortion. Among the asserted hazards is that induced abortion may lead to increased risk of breast cancer. “While there are studies that have found an increased risk of developing breast cancer after an induced abortion, some studies have found no overall risk,” reads the state-produced pamphlet. “There is agreement that this issue needs further study.” Continue Reading »
If you learned that by taking one single action you could improve the health and well-being of Texas children and families, significantly decrease school and work absenteeism, save Texas businesses money, save Texas cities and counties money, and raise the economic level of all Texas families, would you do it? Continue Reading »
A brokered agreement will remove about a dozen family planning and abortion-related amendments from the state budget debate under way Thursday in the Texas House. Removing the volatile amendments from consideration, agreed to by Democrats and Republicans, will protect an additional $100 million set aside for primary care for low-income women, including contraceptives. Continue Reading »
The federal government has pulled from the state of Texas millions in family planning funding, granting the money instead to a coalition led by the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas, which says it can serve a greater number of women with the available funds. Continue Reading »
For Texas women, access to family planning and basic health care isn’t a women’s issue or political issue; it’s a family issue. If the Legislature truly wants to invest in the future of our state and make life better for all families, lawmakers must adequately fund basic women’s health care and contraceptive services, and they must make sure Texas has enough providers to deliver those services. Continue Reading »
Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol on Thursday, demanding that Planned Parenthood clinics be allowed back into the Women’s Health Program. Continue Reading »
Dozens of clergy members took to the Capitol on Monday to ask the Legislature to restore family planning funding and to counter assertions that all religious leaders support those cuts. Continue Reading »
A bill in the Texas Senate could restrict the prescription of and distribution of the abortion drug RU-486. Continue Reading »
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on legislation that would tighten abortion restrictions. Continue Reading »
When Shontae Minor and boyfriend Khristian Rohena learned she was pregnant with quadruplets, they followed their San Antonio doctor’s advice and sought a selective fetal reduction. Continue Reading »
In the 2011 Texas Legislature we saw dramatic cuts made to access for women to healthcare—not just funding cuts but shifts in how we talk about family planning and healthcare for women. As we move into the 83rd Texas Legislature understanding who will impact the decisions of made at the Lege is important. Continue Reading »
A coalition of 32 medical groups and nonprofits is asking state lawmakers to restore cuts to women’s health care services that, while aimed at Planned Parenthood, have hit other providers of care to poor women, especially in rural areas. Continue Reading »
Turning to a critical piece of unfinished business, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined last week with a Republican colleague, Michael Crapo of Idaho, to reintroduce legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law central to the nation’s efforts to fight domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Continue Reading »
Womens’ doctors should be on the lookout for patients whose partners are unduly pressuring them to become pregnant — or even sabotaging their efforts to use contraception. Continue Reading »
Whether to expand Medicaid is the major health care question facing Texas legislators this session. Although Gov. Rick Perry has compared adding impoverished adults to the rolls of the state program to adding more people to the Titanic, Democrats and even some fiscal conservatives argue that expanding the program under the federal Affordable Care Act is a wise budgetary decision. Continue Reading »
You can make a big difference with a small investment of your time. Just click www.meandmyobg.com/action to find out how you can help maintain your ability to use your judgment in caring for your patients. Working together, we can be strong advocates—for ACOG members and for women. Continue Reading »
A federal district court will hear on Friday the state’s case for an injunction against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The state last month filed for a preliminary injunction asking the a Waco district court to allow federal dollars to continue to flow to the state-run women’s health program when it launches Jan. 1. Continue Reading »
Women’s health groups long have advocated for making oral contraceptives available over the counter. Their argument received a significant boost this month from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, whose physicians issued an opinion affirming the benefits of providing pills without a prescription outweighed the risks. Continue Reading »
Our voices are being heard! The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released final rules for the new state-run Women’s Health Program, which will allow for allow for one-on-one, neutral counseling between a physician and her patient. Continue Reading »
In an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, national professional organizations stand up for trust in the physician-patient relationship.
Laws that specifically dictate or limit what physicians discuss during health care encounters also undermine the patient–physician relationship. Physicians must have the ability and freedom to speak to their patients freely and confidentially, to provide patients with factual information relevant to their health, to fully answer their patients’ questions, and to advise them on the course of best care without the fear of penalty.
Read the entire article here.
USA Today reports on results of a recent research study which found that the provision of contraception at no cost to a large cohort of participants reduced unintended pregnancy and decreased teen birth rates in a major metropolitan area. Counseling for women included information about various methods of birth control and women were allowed to choose the type they wanted. Seventy-five percent of the participants chose long acting reversible contraception. Continue Reading »
Texas officials are putting together a new health program for low-income women to get reproductive services, one that will exclude Planned Parenthood. But as the politically-charged program takes shape, doctor’s groups say the new rules interfere with their first amendment rights. KUHF reports.
The Texas Tribune writes:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday lifted a temporary injunction and ruled that Texas can remove Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program…
Planned Parenthood has been the largest beneficiary of the Women’s Health Program since it began as a Medicaid waiver program in 2006. It provides cancer screenings and contraceptives, but not abortions, to about half of the 130,000 low-income women enrolled in the program every year.
The Texas Tribune writes:
Earlier this month, the state’s largest physician groups entered the fray by voicing vehement opposition to a proposed rule that would prohibit Women’s Health Program providers from discussing abortion with their patients. The Texas Medical Association characterized the rule, which must be considered at a public hearing before it’s approved, as a “gag order,” and said it endangered physicians’ relationships with their patients.
Following a letter from several medical groups to Perry and state budget writers, state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston and a breast cancer survivor, joined the chorus. “I believe in the sacred nature of the doctor-patient relationship, so I cannot and will not sit back if I think there are rules that are going to jeopardize that relationship,” she said on Wednesday.
Don’t gag doctors. That’s the heart of a letter from the Texas Medical Association (TMA) to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). TMA President Michael E. Speer, MD, points out DSHS’s proposed rules would impose a “gag order” on physicians who participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP), barring them from discussing elective abortion with their patients even if the patient asked about it or if the standard of care indicated it should be discussed as an option.
“If the state indeed wants doctors to participate in the program, this is a step in the opposite direction,” added Dr. Speer. Many Texas physicians may leave the program because these rules, if enacted, would force them to choose between practicing medicine in accordance with the standard of care and medical ethics, or in accordance with a rule created to serve a political ideology.
Co-signing the letter with TMA were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/Texas District, Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and Texas Pediatric Society.
A message to all physicians from Robert M. Wah, MD, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees.
If you talk to anyone –– physicians or patients –– about health system reform, it becomes apparent that the real core issue is the physician-patient relationship. Continue Reading »