PPWNM Announces Government Funding Cut, Reduction in Services
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — In response to a drastic cut in federal and state funding, Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, Inc. today announced plans to close clinics, reduce operating hours and eliminate some staff positions.
The cut, which is effective as the organization’s 2008 fiscal year begins October 1, eliminated more than $700,000 in support from PPWNM’s annual operating budget. Some of the closures and service reductions will be effective immediately, while others will take place by Dec. 31.
In a move to compensate for the budget cut, the organization also announced a new fundraising initiative called Sister! Act! Community members will be encouraged to provide financial support for a year of reproductive health care for low-income women and teenagers who might otherwise not have access to these services.
PPWNM, which was created earlier this year through the merger of two affiliates, provides reproductive health-care services and education programs annually to more than 35,000 people in 52 counties in West and Northern Michigan and across the Upper Peninsula – the largest geographic area served by any Planned Parenthood affiliate in the state.
“While this funding cut is not connected to our merger, it is immediately deep and painful. It is also shortsighted on the part of the government,” said Katherine Humphrey, president and CEO of PPWNM. “Reducing access to effective family-planning services could have costly long-term consequences, including an increase in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, a significant rise in Medicaid expenses related to child birth and an increase in health-care costs associated with conditions that could have been prevented.
“Our board of directors and staff have been working diligently to develop alternative funding sources that will ensure our long-term sustainability. While we have increased our fundraising goal by approximately 30 percent and will continue to look for additional ways to diversify and expand our revenue streams, the cut in government funding has necessitated some difficult decisions on our part.”
The cut, which was announced to staff and clients at the end of September, represents a 40 percent reduction in PPWNM’s Title X funding. Title X is designed to provide public funding for family planning and preventive health care to low-income women and men. It represents one of the largest funding sources of PPWNM, providing approximately 30 percent of its annual operating budget.
The Title X funding cut has necessitated the:
• Closure of five of the organization’s 13 health centers. Health centers in Hart and White Cloud will close their doors Oct. 1. Health centers in Muskegon and Mt. Pleasant, along with the organization’s Kindel Center in Grand Rapids, will close by Dec. 31.
• Reduction in the hours of its flagship health center in Grand Rapids later this month.
• Elimination of 24 staff positions.
PPWNM is working with affected staff to assist in their transition to other employment. “These decisions were not made lightly, and we acknowledge the profound loss to individuals, families and the communities we serve,” Humphrey said. “The closures and reductions were made according to a set of board-approved parameters after careful evaluation of all of our centers and the communities
served. The centers selected were based in part upon potential access to services through other local providers.
“The government cut reduces our ability to provide vital reproductive health care and family-planning services to women and men who otherwise have little to no access to such health-care services or the ability to pay for them. This is particularly distressing since Planned Parenthood health centers like ours have become the safety net for an increasingly large portion of society – and our safety net now has some serious holes.”
Humphrey noted that Title X clients could continue to utilize PPWNM services if they are able to transition to private pay, Medicaid or another arrangement. The organization is working with affected clients, who number approximately 9,500, to identify other service providers so that access to care can continue.
“Unfortunately, many alternate service providers who provide subsidized services are in positions similar to ours and typically, private providers do not offer subsidized services,” Humphrey said. “We remain committed to providing access to preventive reproductive health care, age-appropriate sexuality education and social action. As part of this commitment and in light of this current budget cut, we have launched Sister! Act!
“For a contribution of $150 per woman per year, Planned Parenthood will be able to provide regular medical checkups, prescriptions and other much-needed health-care services for low-income women and teens. We feel Sister! Act! will be an excellent grass-roots initiative that will connect donors to those in greatest need in a tangible, beneficial way.
“As an organization, we will continue to look at ways to be efficient and effective with the resources we have and to expand our service and revenue-generating abilities.”
More information available online at http://www.ppwnm.org
Our Mission: To promote and ensure reproductive and sexual health, responsibility and freedom.