Dear Family Planning Provider:

The New York State Center of Excellence for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services (NYS COE) recently convened the 2016 Family Planning Provider Meeting in Albany, which focused on strategies to increase access to family planning services for women, men, and adolescents with incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). While the need for family planning services certainly exists among individuals with higher incomes, this population is particularly at risk for unintended pregnancy. In fact, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes at or below the FPL is more than five times as high as that among women with above 200% of the FPL (Finer et al., 2016). Considering the Title X program was designed to provide contraceptive services to all who want and need them, with priority given to low-income individuals, as well as that the Title X program’s goal is to assist individuals in determining the number and spacing of their children through the provision of family planning services,” providing contraceptive services to low-income populations undeniably is the “bread and butter” of family planning providers’ work. Yet, many family planning providers have systems in place that create obstacles for this priority population. This Meeting was dedicated to examining those obstacles from all angles to identify systems-level changes that can be made to remove barriers to access

Many family planning providers left the 1.5-day Meeting with a renewed commitment to identifying and implementing shifts that stand to greatly impact clients’ lives—from identifying and working with non-traditional partners, to “blowing up the schedule” to provide open access, to meaningfully engaging clients in important decisions that impact their care. The NYS COE team looks forward to continuing to support all programs as they implement these changes, including through the 2016-2017 Learning Collaborative, which will work with participating agencies to increase the number and proportion of clients with incomes at or below the FPL served. See the NYS COE’s updates below for more information!

Thank you for your dedication and continued partnership,

The NYS COE Team