We have made some exciting progress, including completing training events, launching patient surveys, and beginning data validation work in a variety of agencies – We collect information on things like how many patients are being asked about their pregnancy intentions, and whether patients received non-coercive counseling about their contraceptive options – an important step to enable Upstream and our partners to measure the progress of our work.
We have also been busy advocating for several measures to help improve reproductive healthcare across NC:
- Upstream wrote letters in support of allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraception methods such as the Pill, and the patch, and dispense injectable drugs such as the Depo-Provera shot. Allowing pharmacists to dispense a wider range of birth control methods helps make the full range of methods more accessible to all.
- In partnership with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Upstream has been in conversation with Senator Burgin’s office to offer strong support of expanding Medicaid in NC to pregnant women for 12 months postpartum – A strategy recommended to help reduce maternal mortality rates.
- We have begun outreach efforts to a variety of legislators in support of appropriating funds in the state budget toward family planning initiatives.
- We’re pleased to be working with NC Child to complete summer/fall webinars aimed at educating their base on the link between pregnancy intendedness and improved maternal and child outcomes.
Read on for more details on how our partners are progressing. As our communities continue to be affected by the ongoing pandemic, it is encouraging to see so many partners prioritizing contraceptive care.
As always, thank you for your continued support on this journey.
Lumbee Nation Resolution in Support of Upstream
On July 15th, the Lumbee Tribal Council agreed to the passing of a Lumbee/Upstream Resolution. The Resolution outlines Upstream’s mission to eliminate barriers to same-day contraceptive access and it’s alignment with the Lumbee Council’s responsibility to protect the Lumbee Members way of life as it relates to maternal health, infant mortality and contraceptive care.
The Resolution, which is the culmination of outreach efforts by Upstream and our Tribal Liaison, will provide Upstream with a strong base for our partnership as we continue to make connections with health centers that serve this community and other agencies across the state.
Partner Progress – Training Updates
Several Upstream training events were completed throughout the state with partners at CommWell Health, Wake County Health Department and Cone Health. These training events successfully educated providers to strengthen their experience in placing IUDs and implants and reduce knowledge gaps in contraceptive methods.
We’re thrilled to see all the ways newfound knowledge is already making a difference, including this testimonial share by our Upstream Agency Champion at Charlotte Community Health Center:
It has been so encouraging to see the changes. A patient comes in for family planning and we place the IUD that day–Nexplanon the same thing. It’s really awesome.” – Marie Brown Kristensen, Assistant Medical Director and Upstream Agency Champion
Patient Surveys Launch
An important part of our work is helping agencies ensure that patients are in charge of their reproductive health decisions. Our program activities and resources emphasize a clear focus on patient needs and providing bias-free, non-coercive contraceptive care.
In order to monitor whether patients are making their own informed choices regarding their contraceptive options, we survey the patient population of participating health center partners.
Pre-pandemic, this survey was conducted in-person. In response to COVID, we pivoted to a virtually administered patient survey. The survey is now live in North Carolina at Cabarrus Health Alliance and Charlotte Community Health Center. Additional partners will be added as their work progresses.
Going virtual makes survey administration less time consuming, gives patients more time to participate, allows us to connect with telehealth patients, and ensures that we can still measure patient voluntarism and satisfaction in a socially-distanced environment.