Texas' Plan to Promote LARCs Released
By Sean Price

 

Maternal_Health_Congress

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) on Thursday will release the state's five-year strategic plan for promoting long-acting, reversible contraceptive devices (LARCs), which are seen as key to reducing the state's high maternal mortality rate. 

The 2017 Texas Legislature ordered HHSC to develop the plan, which is due to the Legislative Budget Board and the governor by Nov. 1. The plan will:

 

  • Review who is eligible for LARCs (which include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants like Nexplanon);
  • Show ways to reduce barriers patients experience when they try to obtain LARCs;
  • Identify problems with payment and billing procedures for both physicians and women enrolled in Medicaid or the Family Planning Program of Healthy Texas Women;
  • Examine methods for developing and expanding partnerships to increase training and education about LARCs; and
  • Make specific recommendations to the legislature.

The report also will contain a letter from Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies on ways to increase LARC use. The collaborative is a coalition of more than 150 state agencies, organizations (including the Texas Medical Association), scientists, hospitals, and insurers dedicated to improving birth outcomes in Texas. 

LARCs are widely seen as an effective way to improve women's health. While maternal death rates have been dropping in most wealthy countries, they have been increasing in the United States, and they are especially high in Texas. 

In 2012, Texas’ maternal mortality rate was between 14.6 and 18.6 deaths per 100,000, while the national average was 15.9 per 100,000. White women in Texas overall have a maternal death rate of 13.6 per 100,000 live births, but the rate for African-American Texans is 27.8, according to research by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. 

TMA's Maternal Health Plan calls for legislation to make LARCs more easily available. However, there are still many outdated fears and myths about LARCs that keep them from being more widely accepted. One 2017 study found that fewer than 6 percent of sexually active female teens use LARCs. 

For more information on maternal death and illness, go to the TMA's Maternal Mortality and Morbidity page.  

 

Last Updated On

November 05, 2018

Sean Price

Reporter

(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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