SHIFT NC

Healthy Tomorrow Alliance FAQs

DETAILS ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Why are particular clinics being used for these services?
These clinics have been selected because they serve a high number of young people, are willing and able to make quality improvements to the adolescent care they provide, and are committed to making a big impact on teen health in Greensboro.

Why is this initiative being launched in Greensboro and not High Point?
This effort is being spearheaded by Cone Health Foundation who provides support for Greensboro-based projects. Being focused in one geographic area will help us understand what strategies work best at the local level – for providers, partners, and the community – and will give us a roadmap for expanding in other areas that need and want similar initiatives.

Will this cost the taxpayers anything?
Healthy Tomorrow Alliance is funded with private dollars. However, reducing teen pregnancy – the ultimate goal – will save taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The most recent estimate shows that Guilford County taxpayers spend more than $16 million each year on costs associated with teen pregnancy.

How is the Healthy Tomorrow Alliance funded?
Cone Health Foundation is providing the funding and resources needed to attain the quality improvement and linking strategy goals of the initiative. As for financial impacts on local partners, some investments are expected at the beginning to meet some of the necessary, system-level changes. Once these changes are in place, the already available services will be more viable and more effective without requiring extended investment.

What is the cost savings of teen pregnancy prevention?
Guilford County taxpayers pay more than $16 million each year in costs associated with teen pregnancy. Prevention initiatives that rely on proven strategies, like the Healthy Tomorrow Alliance, create big and long-lasting savings for taxpayers.

How are you going to address questions about how specific populations will be reached and served?
Healthy Tomorrow Alliance is working with partner clinics to improve services for all adolescents. In addition, our marketing strategies and community partners will help youth, including youth at higher risk for teen pregnancy, navigate finding and accessing a high-quality, teen friendly health care provider.

Why isn’t the Triad Adult and Pediatric Clinic being considered as a site?
We hope they will become a part of the project in the future, as we are able to make time for more coaching and technical assistance. Current funding sources and resources are fully committed for the first phase of this project.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND BIRTH CONTROL

What about abstinence?
Waiting to have sex works for many young people – for nearly half of them through 10th grade. We do want to prepare young people with the right information for when they do choose to be sexually active (the majority of 17-19-year-olds are sexually active). The information provided during a clinic visit will be useful for the reproductive life span.

Is this going to encourage teens to have sex?
Research has repeatedly shown that providing young people with more complete, accurate, trustworthy information actually helps them delay becoming sexually active and helps them stay safer when they do become sexually active.

Is it legal to offer these services to people under 18?
Yes. North Carolina law allows any person, any age to access health care to prevent pregnancy or prevent and treat STDs without parent or guardian permission. Privacy fears are one of the biggest barriers young people face when they need sexual health care, and this law helps encourage them to seek the care they need. In addition, all Healthy Tomorrow Alliance partners are coached on ways to facilitate connectedness between patients and parents in a way that is safe and supports teen health.

How are you reaching out to boys?
We are working to reach young men in several ways. Medical staff in our partner clinics are trained to discuss prevention with young men. In addition, our social marketing outreach and trainings for youth-serving professionals in the community both work to let young men know about local health care services available for them.

What about STD/STIs?
STD/STI testing and treatment is a best practice for adolescent sexual health care. The goal is to implement all best practices.

LARC FAQ

What is a Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC)?
IUDs (named Mirena, ParaGard and Skyla) – and the implant (named Implanon) are called long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) by your doctor. These birth control methods last up to 12 years (or until you ask to have it removed), and are the most effective birth control – more than 99% effective.

Is LARC safe? Is there going to be good information on IUDs?
Yes, LARCs like IUDs and the contraceptive implant are safe and recommended as an option for teen patients. That said, the contraceptive a patient selects needs to be tailored to her specific needs. Our goal is to help both patients and physicians understand all available forms of contraception so the patient and physician can work together to select the most appropriate method.

Are we forcing teens to accept LARC as the only form of birth control?
No. Right now, providers often default to prescribing the pill for young people (really, to all women) and this effort will simply be to put all methods on an equal playing field. Not all contraceptives are for all women, but they should all be discussed and considered.

Aren’t IUDs controversial?
IUDs are widely considered safe and age-appropriate for teens by the medical community. We work with providers to help them understand two historical concerns with IUDs. One is a perception of coercion – or targeting certain communities to try to limit their reproductive choices. We help providers understand the importance of helping the patient lead the decision-making process by providing thorough and accurate information. There are also some lingering negative perceptions of IUDs because of health problems associated with the Dalkon Shield, an IUD marketed in the early 1970s. We help patients and providers understand that the improved, modern versions of the IUD are extremely safe and do not have the same problems as the ‘70s model.