Health screening for low-income women under health care reform: Better or worse?

©2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

When Massachusetts enacted its own statewide health insurance reform in 2006, low-income women transitioned from receiving free, federally subsidized screening for breast and cervical cancer and cardiovascular disease risk to an insurance-based payment system. The effects on screening rates in this vulnerable population are explored in Journal of Women's Health.

A group of authors from Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and several women's health centers and community hospitals in Boston, MA gathered data to evaluate whether the prevalence of screening mammography, Pap smear, and blood pressure measurement improved, stayed the same, or declined pre- and post-. In the article "Preventive Care for Low-Income Women in Massachusetts Post-Health Reform," the authors reviewed screening information for women treated at five community health centers between 2004 and 2010, spanning the period before and after the introduction of health reform.

"There are lessons learned from the Massachusetts experience of that can help inform health care changes nationally," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.

More information: The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website at http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jwh.2013.4612.

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