Impact of a case management programme for women seeking later second-trimester abortion: the case of the Massachusetts Access Program

Ho S

Janiak E

BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
Jul 2018
Objective The Massachusetts Access Program is a statewide, centralised referral and case management program created to address barriers to later second-trimester abortions. This study outlines the scope of, describes provider experiences with, and evaluates provider acceptability of the Program.   Study design We invited physicians, nurses and staff working in hospitals within the later abortion provider referral network to participate in a mixed-methods study that included a web-based quantitative survey and/or a semi-structured qualitative interview. We used descriptive statistics to analyse survey data and inductive coding methods to analyse interview data.   Results From 2007–2012, 15–28% of abortions performed in Massachusetts at 19 weeks or greater gestational age annually were scheduled through the Access Program. We received 16 completed surveys and conducted seven interviews with providers who routinely receive referrals for later abortions through the Program. Providers overall reported positive experiences with the Program and found it highly acceptable. They described that the transportation, accommodation and financial assistance enabled patients access to care. The specialised and updated knowledge of the Access Coordinator in regards to abortion care also allowed her to act as a resource for providers.   Conclusions The Access Program, through its referral and case management network, was a valuable resource both to patients seeking later second-trimester abortions and providers involved in abortion care. It acts as one example of an effective, highly acceptable and potentially replicable intervention to reduce barriers to obtaining later second-trimester abortions.