Initiatives

The Reproductive Bridges Coalition is working across multiple sectors to expand access to high quality comprehensive family planning services and optimize reproductive health outcomes for all individuals in Western Pennsylvania.

Ongoing Projects: 

Pennsylvania Abortion Landscape Convening

CONVERGE is part of an interdisciplinary initiative that brings together advocates, physicians, researchers, client support services, and educators together to support those seeking abortion services in Pennsylvania. 

 

Pharmacist Provision of Contraception

Expanding Pennsylvania pharmacists’ scope of practice to include prescribing of hormonal contraception offers the opportunity to support women’s reproductive autonomy, improve access to essential services, and meaningfully expand clinical pharmacists’ role in women’s health care. Advancing this practice in Pennsylvania also has the potential to advance reproductive health equity for both rural and underserved urban populations.

Read our research brief here. 

Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Privacy

EOBs sent to insurance policyholders may serve as a deterrent for dependents who are seeking sexual and reproductive health care services. We are currently working with legislators and private health plans to implement a policy change to suppress EOBs for dependents for sexual and reproductive health care. 

Read our policy brief here.

Read an op-ed written by student Catherine Heffernman on this issue. 

12 Month Dispensing of Contraception

Based on cost analyses models conducted by CONVERGE faculty, Pennsylvania Medicaid recently recommended that all of its plans cover 12 month contraceptive dispensing.  We are currently investigating what proportion of patients in Medicaid plans were able to fill a 12-month supply of hormonal contraception. Based on these results, we expect that more robust efforts (including a state mandate) will be required to change prescribing and pharmacy dispensing practices to effectively implement this policy change.

Read our research paper here.

Read our Policy brief here. 

Postpartum Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) Reimbursement in Commercial Plans

Partnering with the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative, we are extending our prior work with Medicaid to work with commercial plans in Pennsylvania to enact policies to separate reimbursement for Postpartum LARC from the delivery episode payment. This policy change is essential to enable access to IPP LARC for all patients and to avoid a two-tiered structure in which Medicaid patients may be preferentially steered toward IPP LARC.

Contraceptive Equity in Pennsylvania

In 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing employers to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act contraceptive mandate based on religious or moral objections.  This ruling could impact at least 2.5 million women in Pennsylvania who depend on this coverage for access to affordable contraception.

Legislation has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would ensure a greater degree of access to contraceptives for women within the Commonwealth. The bill would require insurers to provide coverage for contraceptives without cost-sharing, removes pre-authorization requirements, and allows insurers to provide coverage of 12 months of birth control at one time.

Representative Krueger has re-introduced a bill to ensure equitable access to contraceptives in Pennsylvania. 

Previous Projects: 

Ensuring Patient-Centered Care in a Post-Roe World

Faculty members Sonya Borrero, MD, MS, Suji Uhm, MD, MPH, Marian Jarlenski, PhD, Mehret Birru Talabi, MD, PhD, and Greer Donley, JD presented at University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine and School of Public Health's combined Grand Rounds on September 6th, 2022 around Ensuring Patient-Centered Care in a Post-Roe World.

Find the slides from this presentation here.

The Intersections of Inequity, Justice, and Health: Reproductive Autonomy for All

Imani Barbarin, LeeVetta Smith, Christian Lovehall, and Greer Donley presented at University of Pittsburgh's Diversity Forum with Dara Mendez moderating the conversation on The Intersections of Inequity, Justice, and Health: Reproductive Autonomy for All. 

Reproductive autonomy is the ability to make reproductive health decisions that are best for an individual or family in their unique context. This session looked at the intersections of socio-economics, racial and gender identity, geography, and class, as well as structures and systems that impact the reproductive health and lives of diverse individuals and communities. While abortion is a critical component of reproductive autonomy, panelists expanded the discussion beyond abortion to include the complexities of family building, pregnancy-related mortality, infant health, and the historical context that has led us to where we are in the arc towards reproductive justice.

Find the recording of this presentation here.

 

Days of Learning

The Reproductive Bridges Coalition has hosted two Day of Learning events in 2017 and 2018.  The 2017 event brought together experts, stakeholders, and policy makers to discuss the state of the science and policy on contraception and identify avenues to enhance contraceptive access in our region.  

The 2018 Day of Learning event offered contraceptive training for providers across the region.  The training included didactics on patient-centered counseling, evidence-based best practices in contraception provision, and hands-on simulated IUD and implant insertions. 

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