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Doctors with Birth Control Know-How May Decline with New Healthcare Legislation As an approaching federal legislation for healthcare is enacted, women’s access to birth control will be more extensive than before, medical news sources claim. This contains birth control pills, IUDs, and implants, as well as, advice and education. The new guidelines, however, do not provide proviso’s to family medical residents on how to administer readiness for counseling and instruction of women in controlling their reproductive health.

Health reform lobbyists in the US are now looking to petition for rules changes to be implemented regarding birth control training of family doctors. Several health advocacy groups are in the process of organizing letter campaigns for retaining the old laws or implementing new ones with regards to the training of family medical practitioners in the skills and expertise needed to provide women with birth control counseling.

Family doctors are usually the first medical experts who are consulted by patients before a specialist is called in. For most women, especially those living away from most major cities, family physicians are the ones who provide for their reproductive health needs rather than obstetrician-gynecologists. These are the same doctors who usually staff community health centers and inhabit large portions of rural America.

To become a family physician, a medical resident must complete a rigorous three-year training program certified by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. In addition to this, the ACGME changes the accreditation guidelines for each specialty every seven years, in which time the curriculums for family medicine are rewritten.

However, those requirements may disappear with the coming of this new federal healthcare ruling.

Reproductive health supporters noticed certain discrepancies with this new legislation, particularly with regards to requiring reproductive health training for new residents. The new provisions leave the requirements for training in the hands of the training program providers in hospitals rather than the

ACGME. While this may not sound too bad, it might present an unexpected problem where new residents may lack adequate training under the new provisions.

Based on the current training guidelines, whenever a medical resident undergoing residency would need reproductive health training, their training programs (sponsored by their respective hospitals following ACGME provisions) would require them to sometimes go to assigned off-hospital locations, such as, family planning clinics where they may learn about contraception and birth control counseling. This is due to many hospitals with medical residencies not providing their own on-site contraceptive training based on religious restrictions and affiliations.

This potential obstacle may become more pronounced when considering that 13 of the 25 largest healthcare systems in the US are affiliated with a religious organization, with 11 of those confirmed to Catholic systems. The significant number of religious-based healthcare institutions supports the possibility that there may be a restriction on contraceptive training for new residents once the new federal ruling is implemented with these types of hospitals simply opting not to include contraceptive training as being part of a residency program.

Unless this lapse in the new guidelines is corrected before it becomes implemented as the standard practice for medical reproductive healthcare, the likelihood that restrictions in access to birth control will continue to be encountered by patients and physicians.

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Doctors with Birth Control Know-How May Decline with New Healthcare Legislation As an approaching federal legislation for healthcare is enacted, women’s access to birth control will be more extensive...