Family Violence Division Speaks to 300+ Local Domestic Violence Programs about the Affordable Care Act

Photograph of a health care provider advising a young woman.The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA) of the Family and Youth Services Bureau recently hosted a phone discussion for grantees on how the Affordable Care Act benefits the women, men and children served by their programs. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has adopted guidelines for women's preventive health services which will help ensure that women can receive, without cost-sharing, a comprehensive set of recommended preventive health services, including screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

Over 300 advocates and service providers from community-based programs across the country called in to listen to a panel of experts from HHS led by Bill Bentley, Associate Commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence against Women, delivered opening remarks, emphasizing the Obama Administration’s commitment to supporting domestic violence survivors, and underscoring the overlaps between social and emotional wellbeing, intimate partner violence, and women’s health. Dr. Nancy Lee, Director of the Office on Women’s Health, provided background information on the menu of preventive services for women now covered without cost sharing for non-grandfathered health plans under the Affordable Care Act, and explained the new guidelines for providers to screen for intimate partner violence. Participants also learned how advocates can help survivors to sign up for health insurance in the online marketplace from Dr. George Askew, Chief Medical Officer for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

The call was the first Federal effort to speak directly with victim service providers on key provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will broaden health options for domestic violence survivors. To accompany the content discussed by Administration and Agency leadership, FVPSA collaborated with the HHS Office for Health Reform and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at ACF to produce a fact sheet on the Affordable Care Act and Benefits for Domestic Violence Survivors. Dr. Marylouise Kelley, FVPSA Director, concluded the call by acknowledging that while health reform provides immense opportunities, it is not without challenges; Dr. Kelley affirmed the commitment of the FVPSA program to listening to advocates working in the field to ensure best practices are developed in implementing the interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling preventive health benefit. 

Moving forward, FVPSA has partnered with the Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a Family and Youth Services Bureau grantee, to develop a compendium of frequently-asked questions on the Affordable Care Act and services for domestic violence survivors. This FAQ guide will be made available on www.healthcaresaboutipv.org along with other training tools, safety cards, and health setting specific resources for advocates and health providers seeking to expand their work on addressing domestic violence within health care settings.

For a more in-depth overview of how health reform promotes women’s health and benefits domestic violence survivors, download the FVPSA Fact Sheet on the Affordable Care Act.

To access tools for advocates and health professionals, visit the resources provided by the Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, at www.healthcaresaboutipv.org.

To learn more about how to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov.