HER Salt Lake and Family Planning Elevated


HER Salt Lake and Family Planning Elevated

by Kyl Myers, PhD, MS
October 14, 2019
A smiling woman stands in front of flowers

In Utah, more than 100,000 people fall in the contraceptive coverage gap. This means they have to pay out-of-pocket for contraceptive services and methods because they are either uninsured, underinsured, or undocumented. The HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative and Family Planning Elevated are two programs in Utah that work to increase access to equitable, person-centered, comprehensive contraceptive care.

The HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative launched in March 2016 and for one year provided no-cost comprehensive contraceptive care to 7,402 individuals at four Planned Parenthood health centers in Salt Lake County, Utah, which has a population of over 1 million people.  

HER Salt Lake served reproductive aged clients who were starting or switching a method. Clients were offered all reversible methods of contraception, including IUDs and implants and they could return to the clinic and switch methods without cost as many times as they wanted for three years. 

Among the clients served, 4,425 enrolled in a longitudinal study and completed surveys over the course of three years, responding to questions about educational attainment, economic outcomes, and method acceptability and satisfaction. 
Some highlights from the study so far include: 

  1. When costs were removed, clients were twice as likely to choose an IUD or implant. Important to note though, approximately 48% of clients still chose the pill, ring, or shot. Offering all methods is imperative. 
  2. One-third of HER Salt Lake participants did not identify or behave as exclusively heterosexual. It’s important to provide contraceptive care that is inclusive, and not assume that all contraceptive clients are straight, or that lesbian and bisexual women don’t want contraception.

When the HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative ended in 2017, the need for contraceptive care did not. The team behind HER Salt Lake designed Family Planning Elevated to be a sustainable, statewide contraceptive initiative in Utah and launched in February 2019.

Utilizing the lessons learned from HER Salt Lake and contraceptive initiatives across the country, Family Planning Elevated created an innovative offering to help build capacity in Federally Qualified Health Centers, rural clinics, and County Health Departments to provide comprehensive, person-centered contraceptive care.

Clinics in Utah apply to be a member of Family Planning Elevated’s Contraceptive Access Program and receive a cash grant and customized technical training and support to improve contraceptive services in their health center. Family Planning Elevated also covers the costs of contraceptive services and methods for clients who are uninsured, underinsured, or undocumented with incomes between 101-250% federal poverty level. The program works to cover Utahns in the contraceptive coverage gap and has a goal of expanding contraceptive care to 21,000 Utahns by the end of 2021—because everyone deserves equitable, comprehensive person-centered contraceptive care without economic or geographic barriers.

Kyl Myers, PhD, MS is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Planning Division, at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Myers is the director of the statewide contraceptive initiative, Family Planning Elevated.