Thousands of people in our community are victims of domestic violence. Now through the Affordable Care Act many of these people can get help through their doctors.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies will be required to cover domestic violence screenings at no cost to the patient. “Here’s an opportunity to ask the question, here’s an opportunity to educate the patient, here’s an opportunity to provide information,” said Sue Meuschke.
Sue is the executive director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence and has been helping domestic violence victims for the past 25 years. She wants doctors to be aware of the increased coverage for screenings so more physicians will do them and more patients will ask for them.
Dr. Curtis Brown works in an emergency room as an emergency medicine physician. He’s been working with the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence to help victims get help. “Specifically for domestic violence we’re asking questions as to if there’s been any harm for them, physically or emotionally,” said Brown.
Dr. Brown says around 85% of domestic violence patients are women. Last year more than 30,000 people received domestic violence services in Nevada. Around 7,000 of them were in Washoe County. “One-third of all females in their lifetime are a victim of domestic violence, which is a huge number of people,” said Brown.
Awareness is not just for the victims, but also for the doctors so they can provide more help whether that’s through a pamphlet or a referral to a local advocacy group. “We know that health care providers are sort of a first line of defense. I mean you’re going to go see a doctor if you’re hurt,” said Meuschke. “If we can stop that pattern of violence. I think it’s very important,” said Brown.
Domestic violence advocates also encourage physicians to get training on how to conduct domestic violence screenings in order to help more people.
For more information on the programs and domestic violence resources click here: http://www.nnadv.org/
Written by Chloe Beardsley