Online Program

Privacy and Confidentiality Practices Supporting Family Planning Care for Adolescents in Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tishra Beeson, DrPH, MPH, Department of Physical Education, School and Public Health, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
Holly Mead, PhD, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
Susan Wood, PhD, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University/School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
PURPOSE: Family planning confidentiality remains a high priority to adolescents, but barriers to implementing confidentiality and privacy practices exist in underserved settings. The purpose of this paper is to examine how community health centers provide confidential family planning care to adolescents and understand the barriers that make it difficult to provide confidential family planning in health center settings.

METHODS:  This mixed-methods study employed a 2011 national survey of family planning in community health centers, as well as six in-depth case studies with health centers in varying communities across the U.S. Five common privacy and confidentiality practices related to adolescent family planning were examined both individually and as an aggregate index. Regression modeling was used to determine if state policies and organizational factors influence privacy and confidentiality practices in family planning.

RESULTS: Most health centers reported restrictions on family planning and medical records to protect adolescents' confidentiality (84 percent) and the provision of written or verbal information regarding adolescents' rights to confidential care (81 percent). Far fewer health centers reported maintaining separate medical records for family planning (10 percent) or separate contact information for communications regarding family planning services (50 percent). Health centers receiving Title X funding (p-value < 0.001) and those with medium-to-high patient volumes (p-value = 0.022) exhibited higher aggregate index scores.

CONCLUSIONS: While many health centers employ one or more practice to protect adolescents' privacy and confidentiality, the efforts are varied across organizations. Health centers have an opportunity to enhance their efforts to better serve their adolescent patients.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe a common set of privacy and confidentiality practices for adolescent family planning care in Federally-Qualified Health Centers Discuss factors that influence privacy and confidentiality practices in family planning at FQHCs

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Community Health Centers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a co-investigator on all phases of this study from design to implementation to analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.