The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), in its proposed agency cuts reflected in the recently released state budget, eliminated funding for the Community Service Office (CSO) Family Planning Nurse program, despite the fact that the federal government matches every state dollar spent on this successful, cost-effective program nine to one. The program is scheduled to end on January 30th, 2009.
The program has been providing basic family planning health care to low-income people at local Department of Social and Health Services CSOs for 14 years using the common-sense approach of making services available and convenient for those who want them. Having services available right at the CSO removes barriers for people seeking family planning. With pregnancy care carrying a state funding price tag of over $333 million in 2008, and with nearly half of those pregnancies unintended, this program was sound fiscal policy.
Anna Franks, Board Chair of the Planned Parenthood Public Policy Network of Washington says, “Over 14 years of wise investments in developing successful family planning services at CSO sites will be lost, just when more people than ever are facing economic hardship, loss of insurance, and significantly increased needs for the services provided at these sites.”
DSHS has cut this program entirely from their budget, walking away from the nine dollars the federal government pays for every one state dollar invested, and eliminating millions of dollars worth of family planning services for people who need them now more than ever. The cut also lays-off or reduces hours of employment for the 70 nurses who work in the 58 CSO sites across the state.
As the economic crisis worsens, women and their families are increasingly turning to health care safety net providers, such as these CSO sites and community family planning health centers, for a reliable source of care.
“In times of economic hardship, it's common sense to provide the family planning services that save over four dollars in pregnancy care costs for every dollar spent,” says Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) instituted the CSO Family Planning Nurse Program 14 years ago. The program funds nurses to provide family planning education, counseling, and birth control for recipients of DSHS and CSO services. DSHS made this discretionary cut in both their fiscal year 2009 Supplemental Budget as well as their budget for the next biennium. Washington State spent over $333 million in state funded pregnancy care costs in 2008, and approximately half of those pregnancies were unintended. Nearly half of all births in Washington today are paid for by Medicaid.