restricted access "Birth Control can Easily Take a Back Seat": Challenges Providing IUDs in Community Health Care Settings


Objective. To assess community health centers' (CHCs) capacity to offer streamlined intrauterine devices (IUDs) services. Methods. Prior to implementing a contraceptive training project, we surveyed health care staff (N=97) from 11 CHC sites that offer IUDs onsite. Twenty interviews with clinicians explored more deeply their challenges offering IUDs in the CHC setting. Results. Most practices required multiple visits for IUD placement, most (66%) clinician survey respondents had placed an IUD and 19% had placed an IUD as emergency contraception. Need for screening tests, scheduling challenges, pressures to meet patient quotas, and lack of priority given to women's health hindered streamlined IUD provision. Conclusions. Although access to IUDs has increased, significant barriers to provision in CHC settings persist. Clinic policies may need to address a variety of system and provider-level barriers to meet the needs of patients.