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Research project

Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of Providing Contraceptive Services

The financial and human cost of unintended pregnancy is much debated, but the public sector savings realized through the provision of contraception is well-established, largely due to work done by ANSIRH researchers, Drs. Diana Foster and M. Antonia Biggs, and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF. Researchers at ANSIRH and the Bixby Center have a longtime partnership with California’s Medicaid family planning expansion program – known as Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT) – to assess the impact of the program and demonstrate the value of public funding for contraceptive programs.

Drs. Foster and Biggs, and colleagues from the Bixby Center, including Dr. Claire Brindis and Dr. Philip Darney, have shown that every dollar spent on family planning services saves over $9 in public sector expenditures. Since all methods of contraception are cost-effective, offering a range of contraceptive options can enable women to choose the one that best fits their needs and still be “fiscally advisable.” These studies have shown that providing a year's worth of birth control pills resulted in higher contraceptive continuation and fewer pregnancies over time, and health systems around the country have adopted this practice. The large and compelling body of work created by the Bixby/ANSIRH team on the effectiveness of the Family PACT program has contributed to it becoming a model for other states.

This collaboration has also established that advance provision of emergency contraception has significant cost-saving potential and that provision of postpartum contraception encourages healthy spacing between pregnancies and decreases the rate of subsequent preterm births.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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