Lena Marceno, MSc
Denise Raybon, MPH
Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you only have a physical presence and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range. — Chief Dan George
How do we break down walls? How do we integrate health care services to holistically meet the needs of our community? Research has shown that integrating care can lead to improved patient experience and health outcomes. In particular, the integration of family planning (FP) services and services for those with a substance use disorder (SUD) is critical to ensuring the reproductive health needs of those with SUD are met.
People with SUD report an unmet need for family planning services, with only half reporting using contraception. Those who do use contraception rely mostly on “moderately effective” methods. These challenges are compounded by the fact that when people with SUD seek care from providers, they often experience stigma, judgment, and shame creating further barriers to their care. Yet the heightened stress, loneliness, and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the unmet need for behavioral health care services in our communities.
Administered by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), Title X
family planning programs provide services to assist in achieving or preventing
pregnancy, STI prevention, and a host of related prevention services. Family
planning clinics are well positioned to screen for substance use, as they are
often the primary entry point to the health care system for women. OPA strongly
encourages its grantees to screen for substance use disorders and provide
referrals, when appropriate. However, in a recent survey, only half of family
planning clinics reported making external referrals for patients who screened
positive for substance use disorder. Reaching a growing number of people with
both family planning needs and substance disorders requires an
The study also includes financial and economic analyses focusing on the benefits for individual clinics and providers, including expected increases in patient volumes, patient retention, and overall quality of care, as well as broader societal benefits.
The program is available to any Title X funded family planning provider and any behavioral health provider that provides services or treatment for substance use disorder nationwide. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the website, or reach out to Lena Marceno, Project Manager, at email@example.com.