Throughout this health crisis, we have used a public health lens to approach our response, prioritizing patient and staff safety while continuing to offer critical health services.
- In mid-March, we drastically reduced the number of people who were required to report to our offices, moving as many people to mandatory remote work as possible.
- Health center hours were sharply reduced at the outset of the pandemic and slowly increased over April, May, and June as we monitored the spread of the virus and risk of exposure in our four states.
- We prioritized community safety and met patient needs by launching telehealth services.
- However, from March through June, we saw a decline in patient volume during shelter-in-place orders and from communities social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This success in reducing exposure, however, also causes strain on our organization.
We’re a nonprofit health care provider under constant political attack — and often, in the best of times, we are forced to fight to keep our doors open.
- We also were forced to go to court in Oklahoma and challenge actions by government officials in Arkansas and Kansas to protect access to care.
- Across the country, Planned Parenthood has seen anti-abortion politicians use the pandemic as an opportunity to score political points.
The adjustment in patient volume from the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the organization deeply, but we've made cost-saving measures to ensure our expenses don't exceed our revenue.
- In 2019, we saw a 21% increase in patient volume, with patients coming to our health centers for birth control, STI testing and screening, abortion services, cancer screenings, and a number of other forms of care.
- As of the start of 2020, the organization was growing and revenue from both health services and development work was stable and on track to reach levels similar to the previous fiscal year.
- In March, we began projecting a significant revenue loss based on anticipated lower patient volumes this spring due to Stay-At-Home orders and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as canceled and postponed fundraising events.
- We immediately started seeking all available relief funding, including $1.4 million in federal aid from the SBA Payroll Protection Program and an additional $700,000 in grants and individual gifts to offset operational deficits.
- PPGP also mitigated the revenue loss through a variety of methods, including instituting an initial 20% reduction in salary across the organization.
- The 20% reduction in salary was changed to a 10% reduction in salary on April 15, 2020. Currently, 90% pay and hours are ongoing for senior leadership and the departments that are eligible for the voluntary separation program.
- Failure to contain this pandemic has led to a resurgence of infections in recent weeks across all four of our states. Our financial modeling to navigate the pandemic was always based on a reduction in infection rates this summer, not an increase.
- All of the cost-saving measures we've taken -- adjusting work hours and pay, offering the voluntary separation program, and returning Health Services to full-time status before administrative departments -- are designed to ensure our expenses don't exceed our revenue.
Health center staff and health care support staff returned to 100% compensation and full health center hours on July 1, with appropriate precautionary measures for the safety of patients and staff.
- All health centers also returned to full operating hours on July 1 as well, but schedules remain minimized to maintain social distancing practices and limit waiting rooms to no more than 10 patients at a time.
- After opening more appointment times to our full range of services again, we are booked out several weeks in advance.
- We will continue to provide essential health care to our communities, while closely monitoring outbreaks in our region and preparing to adjust.
- As we’ve seen patient volume begin to trend upwards again, we know we can’t recoup the lost appointments from the past few months.
To ensure we can prioritize continuity of care for our patients, Planned Parenthood Great Plains offered a voluntary separation program for employees in several administrative support departments.
- Out of PPGP's total of 139 employees, 36 employees were eligible for the program. Fourteen opted in and resigned.
- The voluntary separation program incentive includes two months’ salary at 100% FTE, a health care stipend for the transition, and a payout for all accrued vacation.
- This is part of a larger Designated Health Event policy put in place in early March to provide remote work capabilities, a grant program for financial hardship, and paid time off for COVID-19 treatment or caring for family members undergoing COVID-19 treatment.
We proactively implemented this voluntary separation program because like many nonprofits, we’ve been affected by the pandemic and resultant economic downturn.
- We heard from staff who had major concerns about remaining at 90% salary long term, and we also knew that the possibility of future furloughs or layoffs would be very stressful, so we offered a voluntary separation incentive to put decision-making power in the hands of employees in the face of a large decision.
- Any reduction in our team is a significant loss to us, but we're making these changes to protect our long-term ability to provide access to high-quality sexual and reproductive health services.
- It’s incredibly difficult to be in the position of planning for potential layoffs, and having these conversations — particularly as part of an open forum with all eligible staff able to ask questions— is intended to increase transparency, but it doesn’t mean the decisions are any easier.
- Our staff was processing extremely difficult choices, and for PPGP leadership, it was worth having an open, honest conversation, even though we couldn’t accommodate all of their requests.
- PPGP will monitor patient volume and increase administrative support staff to 100% salary and hours when revenue and standard care hours resume at full-time levels on a consistent basis.