Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, MACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, DC (February 25, 2019) — The American College of Physicians (ACP) is alarmed by the administration’s final draft rule changing the Title X Family Planning program. These significant changes to Title X will jeopardize access to health care for vulnerable, often working, low-income patients who may have limited to no access to health insurance. These changes will also harm the patient-physician relationship.
The Title X Family Planning program is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing vulnerable patient populations with important health care services, including cancer screenings, vaccinations, and family planning services. ACP is concerned that, if enacted, the changes to the Title X program will restrict the services and advice clinicians can offer their patients seeking reproductive health care services, create more administrative burdens for physicians, and increase documentation requirements. When the proposed changes were released last year, ACP expressed concern that changes to Title X would limit access to care for millions of patients and put facilities in the untenable position to close or limit their operations unless they agree to the unethical intrusions on the patient-physician relationship.
The final rule contradicts ACP’s longstanding health and ethics policy, which supports access to quality, accessible, and affordable health care for all Americans. As a physician, I know many patients who already have trouble accessing health care and may forgo preventive care services and treatment altogether in the face of uncertainty and lack of resources. ACP believes that limiting access to services and advice will put patients’ health at risk.
If the administration is seeking to enact policies that truly make America healthier, ignoring the health care needs of women, the importance of patient-centered care, and the centrality of the patient-physician relationship does not support health. ACP strongly urges the administration to withdraw its changes to restrict federal funding for the Title X Family Planning program and instead, protect Americans by embracing policies that uphold the key tenets of our country’s health care system: access to affordable, quality care for all patients.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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