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Planned Parenthood Braces for Public Health Crisis in California

Hundreds of Thousands of Californians Are Being Turned Away for Care

Published: 05.01.07| Updated: 05.07.07

Los Angeles -- Planned Parenthood affiliates in California aim to provide health care to the thousands of residents who need it. But the current level of reimbursement rates from the state for Medi-Cal services is so low that it is no longer possible for us to provide care to the many Californians who seek it. We are facing a critical juncture: the need for the safety-net services we provide is far greater than our capacity to serve.

In the last 20 years, the cost of providing patient care has increased by as much as 300 percent, yet California’s health care providers – nurses, physicians, physician assistants, nurse midwives and others – have received only one rate increase over those two decades. In fact, our state’s provider rate is one of the lowest in the nation. Our affiliates across the state are forced to turn away more than 10,000 patients every month. Here in Los Angeles, we can only serve approximately 100,000 of the 700,000 residents who need care this year.

This translates into grave health consequences for the people of California. Several affiliates have closed prenatal clinics. Some can no longer offer primary care. Many have had to cut staff, turn away patients, or eliminate education programs. For many of our patients, the lack of accessible family planning services translates into an increased risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections like HIV.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2, we will head to Sacramento to tell legislators that it’s time to get real about health care, and for the Governor and the Legislature to step up and provide California’s health care providers with the financial support and Medi-Cal rate increases that they need.

This is not a reproductive health problem. It is a public health crisis. And the time to fix it is now.

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