Among the many changes ushered in by the Affordable Care Act, health care providers now have an incentive to screen women for intimate partner violence (IPV). This is because the ACA now provides that new insurance plans must pay for screening and brief counseling for IPV without any cost to the patient. In addition, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which typically make recommendations on health-related testing and treatment procedures when sufficient evidence is available to support it, both recently recommended for the first time that clinicians screen and counsel for IPV.
In late December 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health hosted the Trans-HHS Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Counseling: Research Symposium. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together federal agencies and researchers to review the current research for screening and counseling for IPV in primary health settings and identify gaps. In addition, the participants discussed effective IPV screening guidelines as well as tools for health care practitioners to provide appropriate counseling and intervention.
NCDVTMH’s Director, Carole Warshaw, MD, gave a presentation at the symposium on Trauma-Informed Screening Methods: Lessons from Behavioral Health Settings. The Final Meeting Report and the presentation materials from Dr. Warshaw and other symposium participants can be accessed here: http://whr.nlm.nih.gov/ipv-symposium.html
NCDVTMH recently created a new web page devoted to housing resources specifically for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers. Resources found here include tools for screening for and responding to IPV in the context of mental health services, as well as a link to a web-based CLE training (there is a cost for the CLE). These resources are available at http://www.nationalcenterdvtraumamh.org/trainingta/resources-for-mental-health-substance-abuse-treatment-providers/.
In addition, tools for screening and brief counseling in primary health settings can be found at http://www.healthcaresaboutipv.org/.
In addition to reviewing online resources, providers working to develop their capacity to screen and respond to domestic violence in health care settings should contact their local domestic violence programs to inquire about resources, training opportunities, and best practices for making referrals. Ultimately, responding to domestic violence requires robust community collaboration.