January 31, 2018 (Des Moines, IA) – Today the Associated Press released a report on data compiled by the Iowa Department of Human Services, which indicates some alarming trends in low-income Iowans access to services under the state’s new Family Planning Program.
“While we are cautious about drawing conclusions from just three months of data, this initial report appears to show exactly the danger we warned lawmakers about last session,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, PPHeartland public affairs director. “There have been sharp declines in both the number of people enrolled in the program and the number of people accessing services.”
The report shows only 6,897 people are enrolled in the program as of October 1, 2017 – which shows a 48% decline from the number of people who were enrolled in the Iowa Family Planning Network Waiver on October 1, 2016. Of those enrolled in the current program, just 2,664 people accessed services in this quarter, compared to 3,866 who accessed services in the same quarter in 2016.
Planned Parenthood is also concerned that an average of 500 fewer providers are participating in the new family planning program, noting that the percentage of Federally Qualified Health Centers participating has stayed the same (at 2% of all providers) and that the number of Rural Health Clinics has decreased (from 4% to 3%).
“While proponents of the new family planning program argued that FQHCs would be able to absorb Planned Parenthood patients, the data so far disproves this narrative. These providers either do not have capacity or have not stepped up to play a bigger role in meeting Iowans’ family planning needs,” Davison-Rippey said.
Overall, Planned Parenthood is most concerned that the preliminary data indicates many low-income Iowans no longer have access to family planning services under the new program.
“Bottom line: Fewer enrolled patients and fewer providers means less health care. Planned Parenthood will continue to hold the politicians who advanced this legislation accountable for their actions,” said Davison-Rippey.