Nikki Zite, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has received a grant from the National Institute of Reproductive Health (NIRH) to advocate for immediate post-partum Long Acting Reversible Contraception options to be available in Tennessee. Last spring, NIRH put out an announcement for proposals aiming to help advocates work towards making immediate post-partum Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC), such as intrauterine devices (IUD) and implants, available in their states. Dr. Zite had already been working with TennCare and advocating on a series of contraceptive initiatives to decrease undesired pregnancy in Tennessee, and knew that this proposal was a perfect fit for her research and advocacy goals. Dr. Zite, along with colleagues from Vanderbilt and SisterResearch (a Reproductive Justice Not-for-profit based in Memphis, Tennessee), were each awarded $20,000 specifically to advocate to make postpartum LARC a reality in Tennessee. Most of the funding will be used to meet with stakeholders in Nashville and to produce material to educate key decision makers, physicians, and women about immediate post-partum LARC. As of July 2016, Dr. Zite's advocacy has led to women on CoverKids getting access to all forms of contraception including sterilization. Prior to these changes, CoverKids recipients had pregnancy coverage only and could not obtain any contraception after the delivery of their child, even a tubal ligation at the time of a cesarean section. Now they have the same benefits as other Tenncare recipients and will be at lower risk for a rapid repeat pregnancy or any unintended pregnancies. In addition, as of August 2016, CoverKids and BlueCare Tennessee will cover LARC insertions in the postpartum period. This means women desiring LARC while they are in the hospital for their delivery or within 8 weeks of their delivery can obtain those devices, making these safe and effective options a possibility.
Posted February 13, 2017
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