What Planned Parenthood's Patients Say

I think it is important for Medicaid patients to have access to Planned Parenthood clinics for high quality, accessible care. For me, it is a matter of health, and also of opportunity—the opportunity for women to control our fertility so that we can pursue an education and plan our future. I had a great experience at Planned Parenthood, and I want to go back for further care when I need it. I hope that I can continue going there for care. If not, I don’t know where I will go.

– Jane Doe #8, 22-year-old full-time student from Williamson County

Real patients who choose Planned Parenthood for their medical care and who rely on Medicaid coverage have joined with Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit against the state of Texas to preserve our health center’s critical role in the state’s safety net. Jane Doe #8 joins nearly a dozen other patients from across the state in this lawsuit.

Additional Jane Does share why they are part of lawsuit to protect their right to seek healthcare at Planned Parenthood health centers below.


Planned Parenthood Provides Essential Birth Control and Healthcare

As the nation's leading women’s healthcare provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood is a critical resource for birth control to allow women to plan and space their pregnancies and avoid unintended pregnancies, and to receive regular clinical breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, treatment for yeast infections, HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, and other healthcare screenings.

Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas have provided high quality healthcare services to Medicaid beneficiaries for decades. More than 13,000 Texans receive health services each year through the Medicaid program at Planned Parenthood, including:

  • well-woman exams
  • birth control counseling
  • birth control (the pill, the Depo shot, long-term birth control such as IUDs and implants)
  • HPV vaccines
  • treatment for infections (for example, yeast infections)
  • pregnancy test and counseling
  • HIV tests
  • screenings for sexually transmitted infections
  • preventive screenings that include clinical breast exams and cervical cancer screenings
  • procedures including biopsies and colposcopy

Birth control is a basic healthcare need in the United States. Most American women today seek to have two children during their lifetime, which means each will spend an average of 5 years pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or postpartum, and approximately 30 years avoiding pregnancy and seeking contraception services [1].


Medicaid in Texas Only Covers Very Low-Income Texans

Texas has among the highest rates of uninsured residents in the US and the income eligibility for Medicaid is among the most stringent in the US. To qualify for Medicaid as an adult in Texas, income must be 18% or below of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, this is an annual income of $3,760 or below [2]. She must also meet specific characteristics, such as having a disability or dependent children.

 

Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas serve women in counties with limited access to healthcare screenings and birth control. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 157,390 Texas women need publicly funded contraceptive services and live in counties where Planned Parenthood serves 100% of clients [3].


Planned Parenthood as Medicaid and Safety Net Healthcare Provider

Planned Parenthood health centers provide approved health screenings and services to Medicaid patients and are reimbursed based on the services provided. Medicaid provides low reimbursement rates for most health services. For example, patient exam reimbursements range from $21-87 per visit. For some services, the Medicaid reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of providing the care to the patient.

The majority of private physicians do not accept Medicaid patients or do not accept new Medicaid patients—only 30% of practicing physicians in Texas as of 2012 [4]. This makes Planned Parenthood’s role as a trusted healthcare provider especially important for Medicaid patients.


Planned Parenthood Is a Medicaid Provider of Choice, Regardless of Efforts by States

Medicaid enrollees have a “freedom of choice” provision, allowing them to choose any qualified family planning provider. This right of the client is protected by federal law. Federal law prohibits states from excluding providers based on the range of medical services they provide. Courts have ruled regarding Alabama, Arkansas, Utah, and Louisiana that states cannot cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for critical preventive healthcare [5]. To date, two federal Courts of Appeals, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have blocked similar laws enacted in Indiana and Arizona, and the Supreme Court declined to review both of those rulings.


Number of Texas Women Served

This year, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas combined will serve more than 13,000 Medicaid patients.

Planned Parenthood health centers provide Medicaid-funded healthcare to Texans in the following counties: Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Cameron, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Hamilton, Harris, Hill, Galveston, Kaufman, Lamar, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Parker, Red River, Rockwall, Smith, and Tarrant.


Why Planned Parenthood Medicaid Patients Are Standing Up in Court

I feel very comfortable at Planned Parenthood. They treat me well. I also like the fact that they specialize in women’s health care, and I never feel judged there. I know that any question or issue I have, they have seen it before. If Planned Parenthood could not stay in the Medicaid program, I do not know how I would get the services I need. I could not afford to pay for them and would not know where else to go. It is so important to me to be able to keep coming to Planned Parenthood. I know a lot of other patients feel the same way.

– Jane Doe #10, 26-year-old single mother from Bexar County

I believe patients with Medicaid should be able to choose their own medical provider, just like patients with private insurance can. I know from my own experience that it is important to be able to go to a provider that you trust, and I want to make sure that other patients in Texas continue to be able to go to Planned Parenthood if that is what they choose.

– Jane Doe #3, 26-year-old mother of three from Travis County 

I was raped previously. The staff at (Planned Parenthood) were wonderful to me and worked hard to put me at ease. Everyone was understanding and helpful. I am grateful the staff at (Planned Parenthood) were compassionate and gentle. They helped me be able to get the care I needed to keep myself safe. I have built a relationship of trust with the staff at (Planned Parenthood), and I am comfortable there.

– Jane Doe #9, 20-year-old restaurant cook from Travis County

Source

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Inc.

Published

November 23, 2015