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Planned Parenthood: Essential to the Success of Minnesota’s Health Care Safety Net

The idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts. In fact, Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the idea “ludicrous." Sara Rosenbaum, a noted Community Health Center expert, added that “the assertion that community health centers could step into a breach of this magnitude is simply wrong and displays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the health care system works.”

 

Despite claims to the contrary, other safety net providers cannot fill the gap if Planned Parenthood is defunded. Planned Parenthood health centers are most likely to both offer a full range of contraceptive services with high-quality, expert care, and offer hours that accommodate women’s busy lives compared to other safety net providers, such as federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and health departments. And given the share of family planning patients that Planned Parenthood serves in Minnesota, eliminating access to Planned Parenthood would be a public health disaster, with the largest burden falling on the uninsured, those living in underserved areas, and communities of color.

 

Planned Parenthood plays an indispensible role in providing family planning care in Minnesota. It would be impossible for other health care providers, like community health centers, to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients and provide them with same level of high-quality reproductive health care.

  • Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprised just of ’s safety net centers that offered family planning care in 2010, they served of patients served by such centers. By contrast, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) comprised 20% of such safety net sites but only provided care to of patients.
  • In of counties, Planned Parenthood served the majority of patients receiving publicly funded family planning in 2010. And in of counties, Planned Parenthood was the only safety net provider serving family planning patients. .
  • As politicians threaten to decimate women’s health in the need for services continues to rise: unmet need for publicly funded family planning has grown by between and 2014.

 

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of high quality reproductive health care, and research has shown that Planned Parenthood often surpasses other providers on key measures.

 

  • Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of all safety net providers of family planning care nationwide, they serve 36% of all clients who obtain care from such providers.
  • Each Planned Parenthood health center serves, on average, nearly 3,000 patients for contraceptive services each year -- far more than all other safety net provider types. For example, the average FQHC site serves only 330 contraceptive patients each year.
  • FQHCs already face severe provider shortages that are likely to worsen if Planned Parenthood’s patients are blocked from accessing their usual source of care.In fact, nearly every FQHC is currently trying to fill at least one clinical staff position, which FQHCs report typically take over a year to fill. These staffing shortages have already led to diminished capacity including long wait times and inability to meet existing patient demand.
  • Previous state defunding measures have resulted in adverse effects on health care access and outcomes including reduced use of highly-effective methods of contraception and corresponding increases in rates of childbirth among populations that rely on federally supported care and decreased utilization of other preventive services, including breast exams and Pap tests.,
  • Research has shown that Planned Parenthood consistently outperforms all other providers of safety net family planning services, including FQHCs, when it comes to meeting key measures, including:

Providing the full range of birth control methods on-site;

Filling longer-term contraceptive prescriptions; and

Offering shorter wait times and expanded health center hours.

 

Frost, J.J. & Hasstedt, K. (September 8, 2015). Quantifying Planned Parenthood’s Critical Role in Meeting the Need for Publicly Supported Contraceptive Care. http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/09/08/quantifying-planned-parenthoods-critical-role-in-meeting-the-need-for-publicly-supported-contraceptive-care/

Szabo, L. & Ungar, L. (July 30, 2015). Family Planning Budgets in Crisis Before Planned Parenthood Controversy. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/30/family-planning-budgets-crisis-before-planned-parenthood-controversy/30861853/

Rosenbaum, Sara. (September 2, 2015). Planned Parenthood, Community Health Centers, and Women’s Health: Getting the Facts Right. http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/09/02/planned-parenthood-community-health-centers-and-womens-health-getting-the-facts-right/

Frost, J. J., & Zolna, M. R. (2016). Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics in 2015: Patterns and Trends in Service Delivery Practices and Protocols. https://www.guttmacher.org/report/publicly-funded-family-planning-clinic-survey-2015

Frost, J.J., et al. (2013). Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2010. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/contraceptive-needs-2010.pdf

Guttmacher Institute (2015). Response to Inquiry Concerning Geographic Service Availability From Planned Parenthood Health Centers. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pubs/guttmacher-cbo-memo-2015.pdf

Frost JJ et al., (2016) Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2014 Update, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services-2014-update.

Frost, J.J., et al. (2013). Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2010. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/contraceptive-needs-2010.pdf.

Ibid.

National Association of Community Health Centers (2016). Staffing the Safety Net: Building the Primary Care Workforce at America’s Health Centers. http://nachc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/NACHC_Workforce_Report_2016.pdf

Stephenson et al., “Effect of Removal of Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program,” New England Journal of Medicine, (March 2016), available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1511902.

Lu, Yao and Slusky, David Jason Gershkoff, “The Impact of Family Planning Funding Cuts on Preventive Care,” Princeton Center for Health and Wellbeing Working Paper, (May 20, 2014), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2442148.

Frost, J. J., & Zolna, M. R. (2016). Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics in 2015: Patterns and Trends in Service Delivery Practices and Protocols. https://www.guttmacher.org/report/publicly-funded-family-planning-clinic-survey-2015

 

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