Wichita — A new law aimed at cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood might force a Dodge City clinic to close, even though the clinic is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood and does not perform abortions.
Karla Demuth, director of the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic, said a federal budget provision means the clinic will not receive $39,000 in federal funds for 2012. The provision requires federal money for family planning to go first to public health departments and hospitals.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the provision.
The Dodge City clinic serves about 600 uninsured or underinsured women, providing pregnancy tests and other women's health services, as well as some services for male clients. Most of its clients are from southwest Kansas.
In the past, the clinic received federal dollars through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The United Way of Dodge City also provides some funding and service fees supplement the clinic's $100,000 budget, The Dodge City Daily Globe reported Monday.
The clinic was told last month that it no longer qualified to receive federal funding, Demuth said.
"We don't provide primary care," she said. "We're not with the health department. We're not a federally qualified health clinic. Therefore, we're ix-nayed."
The clinic, which was established nearly 35 years ago, is searching for ways to offset the loss of federal dollars, Demuth said.
"We are looking at trying to stay here," she said. "We're still taking appointments, still administering contraceptives. We'd love to stay open, but without that sizable amount of grant money, it's going to be kind of tough."
She said she is considering raising clinic fees but worries that would discourage people from seeking medical services.
"We're here for the people that can't pay," she said. "So you try to be sure to offer services for those, but you can't stay open by sliding fees."
Ford County Administrator Ed Elam said the county commissioners are aware of the situation but have not decided how to respond.
The state health department approached United Methodist Mexican American Ministries about the clinic, but agency officials decided not to become involved, said Stephanie Waggoner, chief executive officer of ministries group.