Local Impact of Cuts to Family Planning
To date, six of the 58 family planning health centers have closed so far as a result of the state cut.
In Burlington County, two sites operated by the Burlington County Health Department in Browns Mills and Mount Holly stopped seeing family planning patients effective November 30, 2010. In 2010, these two health centers saw over 2300 patients until their closure.
In Essex County, Newark was particularly impacted when funding was cut for services at four women’s health centers. The two hospital based centers operated by UMDNJ and Newark Beth Israel lost funding from both the federal Title X program and the state budget line for their women’s health programs. Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, which operates centers in the Ironbound and on Washington Street next to the Rutgers Campus, lost a total of $1.2 million in state funding. Before the Governor’s cut, providers were only able to see about 30% of Newark area women and men in need of services due to capacity issues. The loss of state funds will further exacerbate this problem.
The Bayonne Women’s Health Center in Hudson County operated by the city’s Health Division lost 70% of its total funding and closed in April of 2011, leaving over 1400 residents of Bayonne to find a new provider. Also in Hudson County, Hoboken Family Planning centers saw a reduction of approximately 1,700 patients at their three sites. They had to lay off five staff members, including three of their outreach and education staff. Overall staff hours have also been reduced.
Women’s Health and Counseling in Somerset County saw 650 fewer patients and had 1,952 fewer appointments in 2011 as a result of cutbacks. Reduced appointment capacity has had a detrimental impact on the number of CEED patients the health center sees – thereby limiting access to all cancer screenings. Safety net health services in Somerset are particularly scarce, as the county does not have any Federally Qualified Health Centers.
The Family Planning Center of Ocean County saw 650 fewer patients in 2011. The agency has reduced staff, reduced evening hours and eliminated Saturday morning hours. Wait times for new patient appointments have increased from 2-3 days to approximately 2 weeks.
In Cumberland County, FamCare estimates that they saw approximately 1,400 fewer patients in 2011. Their Millville site closed effective December 31, 2010 and they reduced days of service at their Bridgeton site from three to two days per week. The most recent New Jersey Kids Count data from 2007 shows Cumberland County’s adolescent pregnancy rate at 16.2%. This is significantly higher than the 5.7% rate statewide.
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey stopped offering prenatal services at its Paterson health center in Passaic County at the end of 2010. Planned Parenthood started offering prenatal services at the end of 2008 when Barnert Hospital closed and the state Department of Health asked Planned Parenthood to provide prenatal care to address the gap in access to prenatal care. The hospital previously provided services to 1,500 patients annually. At that time, the state was particularly concerned about a recent report ranking New Jersey as 40th in the nation in the percentage of women who received prenatal care in the first three months of pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood of Central and Greater Northern New Jersey closed its Dover Health Center in Morris County effective December 31, 2010. This site saw over 3,100 patients in 2010. Although Morristown and Newton have seen some Dover patients in 2011 (340 in Morristown and 210 in Newton), transportation barriers and childcare have contributed to the loss of patients. In Union County, the Elizabeth health center served over 900 fewer patients in 2010 than they did in 2009 due to staff reductions and restructuring. The Plainfield health center served over 300 fewer patients for the same reasons. Patient volume was down over the entire affiliate nearly 10% in 2010 over 2009 due to staff reductions and restructuring, and the trend continued in 2011 with all health centers seeing more than 8,000 fewer patients across the affiliate. PPCGNNJ was forced to cut hours, staff and services at all health centers.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey saw 500 fewer patients in 2011. In Camden County, a satellite office in Cherry Hill closed in early September, 2010. Other health centers have reduced staff and wait times up to two and three weeks have been reported. The agency’s headquarters in the city of Camden provides services in one of the poorest and most dangerous communities in the state. In Atlantic County, patients have experienced longer wait times and the agency has been unable to implement some important women’s health care services, such as colposcopy for women who have experienced abnormal pap tests. Nearly all of the patients at the Atlantic City site fall below the poverty level and have little or no means to afford health care. Working in collaboration with the Atlantic County Health Department, the agency started a family planning clinic one day per week in Hammonton in an effort to improve the extreme high rates of adolescent pregnancy in that part of the county. Many of those patients cannot get into Atlantic City, and the agency is scrambling to find funding to continue services.
In Mercer County, health centers operated by Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area in Trenton, Hamilton and on the campus of The College of New Jersey reduced hours. As a result, the health centers were able to see 17% fewer family planning patients in 2011 than 2010. The health center in Trenton with Title X funding is unable to meet demand with existing appointments; as the center had to reduce hours by more than 20% due to reduced funding, it is clear that many people in the community are not receiving the family planning health care they need. The Hamilton health center is in its second year as a fee for service only health center.