WEDNESDAY, May 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women face unique health challenges across their lifetimes, and policies should be implemented to improve their health outcomes, according to a position paper published online May 29 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hilary Daniel and colleagues on the Health and Public Policy Committee of the American College of Physicians reviewed the relevant literature relating to women’s health to examine the challenges faced by women in the U.S. health care system across their lifespans.

The authors developed recommendations focusing on policies to improve the health outcomes of women. These include provision of appropriate training for clinicians in all specialties and fields in health issues of particular relevance to women. Women should have access to affordable, comprehensive, nondiscriminatory public or private health care coverage, including evidence-based care. Health insurers should not be allowed to charge higher premiums or impose higher cost sharing because of gender. Further recommendations relate to patients’ individual health and reproductive decision-making rights, support for universal access to family and medical leave policies, and availability of effective screening tools for treating survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual violence.

“Ensuring access to nondiscriminatory health care coverage, ensuring access to a broad range of evidence-based services for reproductive health care, supporting public policies that positively affect women and their families, and closing knowledge gaps are essential to improving the overall health and well-being of women in the United States,” the authors write.

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