PHOENIX – The cuts made by the Arizona Legislature and Governor Jan Brewer to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) are affecting a laundry list of medical services for low-income citizens, including the vital cancer prevention care and birth control access provided to women through an annual gynecological exam.
When the cuts took effect on October 1, Planned Parenthood Arizona began to get the anxious calls from women needing their annual exam and contraceptives, who were unsure how their appointment would be covered.
Women make up 70 percent of adults on the Medicaid program – that is approximately 500,000 Arizona women. While AHCCCS can still cover a Pap smear, it cannot cover the exam necessary for getting the Pap smear. Essentially, the Arizona Legislature and Governor Brewer have cut out prevention care for a low-income woman so that she can only receive her Pap if she is experiencing a health issue - an emergency. Included in prevention exams is the discussion of birth control and a prescription for the right contraceptive for a woman.
“Planned Parenthood Arizona provided more than 19,000 exams, tests and medications to AHCCCS patients, but our patients aren’t the only ones affected by the AHCCCS cuts,” says Bryan Howard CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona. “All medical providers who accept AHCCCS are wondering how they will serve their patients so they can help women stay healthy and assist in early detection of cancers like cervical cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. As a nonprofit organization, we may be more fortunate because we have donors who will help us ensure women are getting the care they need in the short-term. But, what will Arizona tell these women in the long-term?”
According to the American Cancer Society, the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates related to cervical cancer have decreased by 67 percent over the last 30 years because of Pap smears; and between 60 and 80 percent of women with advanced cervical cancer have not had a Pap in the past five years.
Planned Parenthood Arizona has committed to continue serving AHCCCS clients with annual gynecological exams in the short term. The community can support this effort to fill the gap left by AHCCCS by making a tax-deductible donation at ppazdonate.org.
Planned Parenthood Arizona is the leading sexual health organization in Arizona. In the community for 75 years, the organization provides health care, education and outreach services to more than 100,000 men, women, teens and parents annually. Planned Parenthood Arizona operates health center locations statewide in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Prescott and Yuma. For more information, please visit http://www.ppaz.org/.
For Immediate Release: October 13, 2010
Contact: Cynde Cerf,
Planned Parenthood Arizona Media Office
October 13, 2010