Fact Sheet: Celebrating Women’s History Month 2022

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting women and ensuring their access to health care. At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), our commitment to women is not just a part of our history, it’s a critical part of our everyday mission. Our programs and initiatives over the last year have focused on improving the lives of women and their families in their communities, homes, and workplaces. We’ve provided grants to thousands of women facing challenges while taking care of their families. Programs like Medicaid ensure postpartum care for many women and their babies and our Title X and community clinics provide care for women nationwide. We’ve prioritized the health of expectant mothers with programs that champion the best practices in maternity care, as well as emphasized and supported initiatives that underscore the importance of access to preventive and reproductive care. Whether it’s developing and understanding the best practices for care delivery, raising awareness around diseases and conditions that disproportionately impact women, or providing quality health care in federally-funded health centers, HHS has—and will continue to—advance the health and well-being of every woman in America.  

The following is a short overview of some of the Department’s efforts over the past year.

Expanding Access to Care and Preventive Services

  • For 30 years, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) has provided women who have low incomes and are uninsured and underserved access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. Currently, the NBCCEDP funds 70 award recipients—all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 5 U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, and 13 American Indian and Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)]
  • Opened opportunity to provide feedback on topics related to health care access, such as enrolling in and maintaining coverage, accessing health care services and supports, and ensuring adequate provider payment rates to encourage provider availability and quality. [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS]
  • Launched the Federal Cervical Cancer Collaborative, an offshoot of the Cancer Moonshot℠, an interagency partnership to increase access to high-quality cervical health in safety-net settings of care, to promote innovative approaches to cervical cancer prevention, screening, and treatment through engagement with providers, patients, and other stakeholders, and through the development of educational resources for providers. [Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)]
  • Launched the Self-Measured Blood Pressure (SMBP) Partnership Program, a new program to create a network of organizations that empowers women to maintain healthy blood pressure levels through self-monitoring. [Office on Women’s Health (OWH)]
  • Updated Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines aimed at preventing and reducing obesity in midlife women through counseling, as well as updates focused on: breastfeeding services and supplies; well-woman preventive care visits; access to contraceptives and contraceptive counseling; screening for HIV; and counseling for STIs. [HRSA]
  • Produced several webinars aimed at women’s health to explore such issues as low-risk cesarean delivery (LRCD) and postpartum care, as well as host a roundtable on new cervical cancer screening and management guidelines in care settings. [CMS]
  • Published several impactful blogs related to women’s health, covering such topics as heart disease, HPV, fibroid awareness, breastfeeding and diabetes. [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)]
  • Issued a report that showed 58 million women and 37 million children were benefiting from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for private insurance to cover many preventive services without cost-sharing. [Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)]

Expanding Maternal and Postpartum Care

  • Marked Black Maternal Health Week in April 2021 and expanded access to continuous health care coverage and access to preventative care in rural areas to improve maternal health outcomes. [CMS]
  • Responded to Vice President Kamala Harris’ Call to Action to Reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity by encouraging states to take advantage of the American Rescue Plan’s option to provide 12 months postpartum coverage to pregnant individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). [CMS]
  • Extended Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage up to 12 months in Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia, to provide extended access to essential care after the end of the pregnancy and prevent unnecessary postpartum-related illness and deaths. [CMS: NJ, VA]
  • Published a report that estimated approximately 720,000 people would benefit if all states were to adopt the American Rescue Plan’s new option to extend post-partum Medicaid coverage for a full 12 months. [ASPE]
  • Implemented a new quality measure for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program to improve maternity care. Initially based on data reported by hospitals on this measure, and in combination with data reported by hospitals on other measures in the future, a hospital could receive a “Birthing-Friendly” designation on the CMS Care Compare website.  [CMS]
  • Launched the HHS Perinatal Improvement Collaborative to deploy clinical, evidence-based best practices in maternity care through a network of over 200 hospitals. [Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)/OWH]
  • Started the Breastfeeding Program for African American mothers and families to increase breastfeeding rates in that population, one in which 75.5 percent of infants are not breastfed. [OASH/OWH]
  • Funded 14 organizations across twelve states to develop and implement interventions to reduce maternal deaths due to violence, and to sustain other interventions that significantly improve health outcomes. [OASH/OWH]
  • Expanded the availability of community-based doula care to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy. [HRSA]
  • Increased funding for the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality Program to reach six additional states, for a total of 30 awards supporting 31 states. This funding directly supports agencies and organizations that coordinate and manage Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) to identify, review, and characterize pregnancy-related deaths; and identify prevention opportunities. [CDC]
  • Released a report thatdescribes the characteristics of pregnancy-related deaths due to mental health conditions from fourteen state Maternal Mortality Review Committees. Nearly 1 in 9 pregnancy-related deaths were due to mental health conditions. Among pregnancy-related mental health deaths with a preventability determination by the MMRC, 100% were determined to be preventable. Nearly three-quarters of people with a pregnancy-related mental health cause of death had a history of depression, and more than two-thirds had past or current substance use. [CDC]
  • Hosted the second National Convening on Substance Exposure in the Mother-Infant Dyad to discuss findings from HHS’ evidence-based methodology on improving identification and care for mothers and infants with substance exposure; and published the first recommendations for standardized identification. [OASH]

Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health

  • Issued a new regulation to strengthen Title X, the nation’s family planning program, to ensure access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, quality family planning services. [OASH]
  • Announced $6.6 million through the Title X family planning program to address the demand for family planning services where restrictive laws and policies have impacted reproductive health access, or in states where there is a lack of or limited Title X access. [OASH]
  • Established the first-ever HHS Intra-agency Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access that will facilitate collaborative, innovative, transparent, equitable, and action-oriented approaches to protect and bolster sexual and reproductive health. [OASH/(Office of Global Affairs (OGA)]
  • Supported data collection for the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) – a survey that has been conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) with reproductive-age women since 1973 and reproductive-age men and women since 2002 — by adding a total of 15 women’s health questions to the survey related to benign gynecological conditions and blood pressure control. [CDC/OWH]

Promoting Behavioral Health

  • Provided Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services through the Health Center Program, to nearly 1.3 million patients, a 14% increase from 2018-2020. [HRSA]
  • Launched How Right Now, a communications campaign to promote and strengthen the emotional well-being and resiliency of populations adversely affected by COVID-19–related stress and social determinants of health. [CDC]
  • Announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women to provide comprehensive substance use disorder and treatment services and recovery support services to pregnant and postpartum women. [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)]
  • Released the Our Goals, Our Lives video series, in which we have three female subjects recount what empowered them to overcome challenges. [Administration for Families & Children (ACF)]
  • Made systematic review available to address the impacts that may result from untreated mental health disorders in perinatal women (pregnant and postpartum, including breastfeeding), exploring whether the benefits for mother and fetus of treating psychiatric illness with pharmacologic interventions outweigh the harms. [Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)]
  • Expanded the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health to include a set of safety practices addressing substance use disorder in pregnant women. [HRSA]
  • Posted a two-page, free, downloadable fact sheet entitled: Alcohol Use Among Girls and Young Women. [SAMHSA]

Addressing Health Disparities

  • Reviewed many health-related issues impacting women, including breast reconstruction after mastectomy; maternal, fetal, and child outcomes of mental health treatment in women; cervical ripening in the outpatient setting; gestational diabetes screening; and managing urinary incontinence. [AHRQ]
  • Awarded over $115 million to 101 Healthy Start Award Recipients in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico where infant mortality rates are at least one and a half times the U.S. national average. Projects are tailored to service a local community’s needs by improving health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy, which reduces negative maternal health outcomes and racial and ethnic disparities. [HRSA]
  • Released a letter encouraging Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) service providers to leverage their existing infrastructure to provide access to gender affirming care and treatment services for transgender and gender diverse people with HIV. The RWHAP served nearly 12,000 clients of transgender experience in 2020, and nearly 88 percent of those clients identified as transgender women. This guidance supports HRSA’s efforts to address health disparities and reduce barriers to lifesaving HIV care, medication, and support services for people of transgender experience with HIV. [HRSA]
  • Produced and launched a new educational video titled “Be Empowered, Understanding Diabetes,” which serves as a resource to highlight some of the ways diabetes can impact women differently and share the unique experiences of women affected by diabetes. [FDA]
  • Launched a national competition to identify effective programs that can address equity of postpartum care for Black or African American and American Indian/Alaskan Native beneficiaries enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP. [CMS/OWH]
  • Lead initiatives focused on improving health outcomes for Black women, including interventions that enhance patient navigation, case management, and peer engagement, as well as interventions that address trauma-informed care; self-efficacy, health literacy, and resiliency; stigma reduction; barriers to HIV care; and intimate partner violence, sexual violence or other behavioral needs. [HRSA]

Preventing Violence and Supporting Survivor Safety and Healing

  • Awarded $188 million to help address gaps and challenges within state adult protective services systems, which frequently protect older women from abuse, neglect and exploitation. [Administration for Community Living (ACL)]
  • Offered health centers and domestic violence programs training designed to increase the identification and referral to treatment of individuals experiencing or surviving intimate partner violence and human trafficking, through Project Catalyst. [HRSA/ACF]
  • Supported the National Domestic Violence Hotline to train health centers, domestic violence programs, and hotline advocate staff to connect domestic violence support with healthcare services. [HRSA]
  • Completed implementation of the first agency-wide strategy to address intimate partner violence and released a final report, aimed at addressing, among other goals, intimate partner violence-related training at the community and health systems levels. [HRSA]
  • Launched the development of a new strategy to address intimate partner violence with an expanded focus on prevention and intersecting forms of interpersonal violence. [HRSA]
  • Worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to sponsor a resolution on addressing violence against children, while advancing efforts to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse; and continuing to champion equity in the global COVID response. [OGA]
  • Advanced the Administration’s priorities on women’s and girl’s health and safety through other multilateral efforts, such as through the World Health Assembly, UN General Assembly meeting, G7 and G20 meetings. [OGA]

Building a Stronger Workforce

  • Implemented several initiatives to support the early care and education (ECE) workforce, which is more than 90 percent female, including a “Week of Action,” which focused on increasing access to health coverage for the ECE workforce; virtual regional meetings to raise awareness around available resources; and the launch of a new website to mitigate ECE workforce shortages. [ACF]
  • Awarded $1.8 million in pension counseling and information grants to promote the rights, financial security and independence of older individuals, most of whom are women. [ACL]
  • Increased the number of women participants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Health Profession Opportunity Grants programs, from 86% in 2018, to 91% in 2021. [ACF]
  • Provided HHS health professions training programs to 29,747 women participants and 13,034 women graduates during the 2020/21 academic year. [HRSA]
  • Supported the Nurse Corps and National Health Service Corps programs, where women account for more than three-quarters of these programs’ fiscal year 2021 Field Strength. [HRSA]

Originally published at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/03/07/fact-sheet-celebrating-womens-history-month-2022.html

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