What does “Access to Care” mean?

At RESOLVE, we take Access to Care seriously. It’s not just a phrase or buzz words to us. It’s what guides our work each and every day.  It’s a key strategic goal as set by our Board of Directors. It’s the lens under which we decide if RESOLVE is leading on an issue or not. And, it’s the most important thing our constituents have asked us to do. How do we know that? Because we asked you and you told us in a survey in 2015.

I am all about setting expectations. So let’s be clear on what RESOLVE means by Access to Care, so you know how we evaluate our impact.

Access to Care means that anyone struggling to build a family has access to all family building options and is able to reach their resolution.

Let’s break that down word for word.

ANYONE” – means anyone. Your gender, your marital status, your race, your sexual orientation, your income, your religion, and where you live should play ZERO role in determining if you have a family or not. Anyone should be able to decide what is right for them, anyone should have the ability to build their family, and everyone should have the ability to pay for it.  In other words, no barriers people! RESOLVE is about breaking down those barriers, one by one.

STRUGGLING TO BUILD A FAMILY” – means your desire for a family is not coming easy – something is blocking you in reaching your resolution. Maybe it’s finances or maybe it’s a law in your state that is causing problems. Maybe it’s the emotional toll this is having on your life. Whatever it is, RESOLVE wants to do everything we can to bust down those barriers and get you on your way.  Remember, this is a journey and we are here to make that journey better and easier.

ACCESS” – this is about getting to the right doctor, or the right information, or the right community to support you. We don’t want to see those “detour” and “road closed” signs out there for you on your journey. It’s about riding with the windows down sailing along with no obstacles in your way. It’s about finding the shortest and best route to a resolution for you.

ALL FAMILY BUILDING OPTIONS” – when we say “ALL” we mean it. RESOLVE is not here to tell you how to build your family; we certainly won’t judge you for the path you take. You have the right to build your family in the best way possible for you.   That might mean trying medical treatment, pursuing a domestic infant adoption, using donor egg, or using a gestational carrier surrogate, or having the support and information to choose to live childfree. As someone who has travelled this journey, I certainly changed my mind along the way and used all the resources available to do so. We are here for you.

At RESOLVE we have to remain vigilant as state legislatures and now even our federal lawmakers, try and block access to a particular family building option. RESOLVE is there, on the front lines, fighting for you every day. Who knows what option might work best for you – but we sure as heck need to be sure that everyone has every option available.

So now that we’ve covered how we define access, here are some of the ways we are doing this each day:

  • Gestational Surrogacy: RESOLVE supports a bill to make gestational carrier surrogacy legal in New York. Since 1992 this has been banned in the state. Come on people – this is 2017 and time to overturn this outdated law! Even now, Arkansas is trying to turn back the clock and ban surrogacy, and in Minnesota (my home state!), attempts to restrict access to gestational carrier surrogacy have been relentless. We will not let them win!
  • Personhood: About a dozen states, and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, have introduced Personhood bills that would impact access to IVF medical treatments and how doctors would be able to treat their patients. Look, if IVF is medically necessary for you to build a family, you should be able to receive the most advanced standard of care delivered by these medical specialists.
  • Insurance Mandate Improvements: Insurance, a controversial word these days, but not in New Jersey. We support a bill that will change the existing state insurance mandate for IVF so that it does not discriminate and allows same sex couples and single women to access the IVF mandate. Last year we were successful in adding non-discrimination language to Maryland’s mandate. And we are working to add IVF to New York’s current infertility insurance law, open Rhode Island’s mandate to non-married couples, and shorten Hawaii’s five-year waiting period, among other improvements.
  • New Insurance Mandates: Right now RESOLVE is actively supporting new IVF insurance mandates in Indiana and South Carolina, and in Mississippi earlier in the year.
  • Fertility Preservation: Did you know that if you need to preserve sperm and eggs before cancer treatment it isn’t covered by insurance? RESOLVE is pushing several bills in state legislatures to mandate this be covered by health insurance, including in Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and New York.
  • Access to free support: RESOLVE recruits and trains hundreds of volunteers each year to run RESOLVE support groups. Right now we have more than 250 support groups meeting in 47 states. We hear from support group members every day how this life-saving emotional support has changed their life. Providing you the support you need is the foundation of RESOLVE.  We are here for you.

Want to learn more? Read about our mission and strategic goals as set by our Board of Directors, and how we will measure ourselves in terms of our impact. However, if you don’t think we are doing enough, tell me. I am happy to talk to you and share with you our priorities. Because of our limited budget, we have to prioritize, but I am all ears to hear your concerns. And if you want to help us in our efforts, reach out too. We can’t do this alone, and welcome your help. Reach me at bcollura@resolve.org. And until we all have the access we deserve, RESOLVE will be at this every day. You can count on that.

We will be in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 18th talking to our lawmakers about ACCESS for people who struggle to build a family. We need you to be there.