Archive for Friday, May 23, 2014

Planned Parenthood closes Hays clinic after ruling

May 23, 2014


— Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced Friday it plans to close its Hays health center to save its larger Wichita clinic in the wake of an appeals court ruling that let Kansas strip its federal family planning funding.

The organization also said it would no longer be able to provide free contraceptives and other no-cost medical services to low-income patients in Wichita without the federal money, but community donations will allow it to still offer affordable health care there.

Court documents show the two nonprofit clinics were operating at a loss even before losing the $330,000 annual influx of funds from Title X, a federally financed family planning program. The Title X money targets low-income people seeking reproductive services such as birth control, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. It cannot be used for abortions.

The Hays Center will continue seeing patients until June 26, and the facility will close its doors on June 30. Its closure leaves Ellis County without a Title X health care provider. The clinic manager and a nurse practitioner will lose their jobs in Hays, but no staff cuts are planned at the Wichita facility.

Interim CEO Ron Ellifrits said Planned Parenthood has provided health care in Kansas for more than 75 years and won't let the changes keep it from staying committed to high-quality affordable health care.

"We're still here for our patients, and we are fighting every day to maintain, restore, or expand access to health care in Kansas despite all the obstacles in our path," Ellifrits said in a written statement. "The generous support of private individuals across the state, as well as the difficult decision to close our health center in Hays, will allow Planned Parenthood to continue providing services for as many Kansas women and men as possible while Kansas lawmakers continue to play politics with women's health."

The move comes after a sharply divided panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March overturned a federal judge's ruling that had temporarily kept Planned Parenthood's funding intact while the organization challenged a Kansas law. That law required the state to first allocate Title X money to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no funds for specialty family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood subsequently dropped its legal challenge to the state law.

More than 5,700 people receive health care services at the Hays and Wichita clinics. The two clinics combined have provided more than 9,000 birth control visits each year, as well as 3,000 breast exams and pap tests, and 18,000 tests for sexually transmitted diseases, according to court documents.

Last year, Planned Parenthood used Title X money to provide medical services to 3,700 low-income patients in Wichita and 448 in Hays.

"We will work with all of our patients to provide assistance and we will continue to be there for them," Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri spokeswoman Elise Higgins said. "But, because of that politically motivated decision, we will no longer be able to use Title X funds to provide health care for free as of June 1."

Low-income patients will still be able to get birth control pills at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Wichita, but will have to pay as little as $12 rather than getting them for free, Higgins said. The out-of-pocket cost for the pills can be as much as $50.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has said it wants to ensure that people across the state have access to family planning services, noting Kansas has other Title X providers.


Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 11 months ago

I used the services of Planned Parenthood when I was in my twenties and I know how important it is. I was able to have a child when I thought I was ready to and that made all the difference in the world. What on earth are women supposed to do now? Though no fault of their own they are now in a horrible situation that has the potential to cause them a great deal of emotional, mental, and even physical distress in the future.

Take the time and effort to do some research into issues that affect Kansans and vote accordingly. We do have the means to turn this around.

Scott Quenette 3 years, 11 months ago

They think this will prevent abortions. If you can afford to travel to get one and pay for it yourself, there is no restriction. They are exacerbating the problem by restricting access to family planning services such as contraception which PREVENT unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortion.

This logic escapes the simple minded.

Cille King 3 years, 11 months ago

..."Sara Belfry, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. "We have other providers."

Belfry conceded Monday that defunding the Planned Parenthood clinics leaves Ellis County without a Title X health care provider, but she said another clinic there could apply for Title X funding. She also suggested the Sedgwick County Health Department could fill the gap in Wichita. But it is unclear how Sedgwick County could absorb more than double its patient population to meet the family planning needs of the 4,000 Planned Parenthood patients served in the Wichita area."

Frank McGuinness 3 years, 11 months ago

And the minute all these children are born to low income parents those who support defunding Planned Parenthood will deem the parents "Welfare Moochers".

Phillip Chappuie 3 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Quenette, there is no logic to this madness. Why would anybody in their right mind eliminate access to birth control? The poor policy of the current administration is actually creating more long term problems than they think. Brownback wants to keep the poor uneducated and unhealthy. It is easier to manipulate them that way.

3 years, 11 months ago

Can't have birth control. You can't play God. That's what your doing. This isn't about abortion. It's about birth control. Once you start controlling birth, you control conception. Conception can only be controlled by the Hand of God. If a married couple abstains from sex because they cannot afford a child currently, or cannot afford anymore children ever that's OK. Look...if you make a "mistake" and have a child whilst in wed-lock that you were planning NOT to have...that's Gods will. If there is no room for "mistakes" 75% of us wouldn't be here, which means we wouldn't have the chance to admit we are sinner's and deserve an eternity in Hell. No wonder Jesus hasn't returned...

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

This is your religious belief, which is ok for you. I would never try and stop you from practicing your religious belief. But this is the United States, and it is unconstitutional to force your religion on anyone else. I respect your believes, but please do not disrespect mine or anyone else's. Thank you.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 10 months ago

Just out of curiosity, because I attended college in the 70's, apparently when the state was far more sane, tolerant, and bright blue liberal by today's standards, does the student health center ("the quack shack, we called it), still dispense birth control? Just looking for consistency.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 10 months ago

Planned Parenthood does not only provide family planning services, they also provide important female check ups, such as, mammograms and pap smears. These help women get early, life-saving treatment for cancer. Brownback has blocked the expansion of Medicaid and forced the closing of Planned Parenthood. Will he feel any guilt at all when a poor woman dies from breast or cervical cancer that was detected too late? Will any of his supporters feel the same?

Ned Wolfsosoon 3 years, 10 months ago

Where does Planned NonParenthood do mammograms? Breast exams, perhaps, mammograms, no.

Kevin Elliott 3 years, 10 months ago

Another example of the far right killing women

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