D. Increased Funding for Health Research, Education, and Outreach Programs Targeting Women and Gender-Specific Disease
The ACA also provides funding for a number of new programs focusing on maternal and child health and breast health for young women, as well as for *117 research conducted by women's health offices at various federal agencies. These broader health promotion efforts are predominantly aimed at improving access to information and community- and clinically-based preventive services. These initiatives include grants to states to develop and implement Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Visitation models targeted at improving maternal and newborn health, parenting skills, and school readiness. In addition, the ACA establishes a grant program to states for the establishment of systems to provide services to those with or at risk for postpartum conditions and their families, including outpatient and home-based case management and treatment, delivering or enhancing inpatient services, improving the quality of other support services (such as attendant care, homemaker assistance, and counseling), and providing education and outreach services aimed at earlier diagnosis of postpartum depression. The ACA also seeks to improve maternal and child health by reducing barriers to breastfeeding, requiring large employers to provide reasonable breaks and a private location for employees to express breast milk.
The ACA includes a number of health education programs that particularly target women, including funding for a public education campaign aimed at improving breast health in young women and encouraging early diagnostic testing for those at high risk for breast cancer. This new initiative includes outreach to the public and to medical professionals, prevention research activities to be conducted by the CDC, and grants to states to provide information and resources directed at young women diagnosed with breast cancer and preneoplastic breast disease.
The ACA also includes funding to states for a new comprehensive sexual education program, aimed at educating school-aged children about healthy relationships, personal responsibility, abstinence, contraception, and sexually transmitted diseases, while continuing funding for abstinence-only education programs.
Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also begun implementation of ACA provisions requiring standardization of health data collection. In 2011, HHS issued a notice of proposed data collection standards that would improve data collection in national population health surveys and facilitate evaluation of and response to health disparities by population subgroup.*118 In addition to questions about race, sex, ethnicity, primary language, and disability status, the Department is developing standardized approaches for collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity. Recognizing that LGBT individuals and families may face health disparities in insurance coverage and access to healthcare services but that available data are so limited as to prevent a meaningful assessment of these disparities, HHS has developed a timeline for LGBT data collection. The 2013 National Health Interview Survey included a sexual orientation-specific question, with results expected in 2014.