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Inadequate funding forces Planned Parenthood to turn away 10,000 patients a month

Los Angeles -- Planned Parenthood is holding a Bake Sale for Birth Control to call attention to the urgent need to increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates in the State Budget.

“Our clinics are turning away more than 10,000 patients each month because we don’t have the staff to provide services for them and without an increase in these rates, we won’ be able to serve them, and thousands more,” said Mary-Jane Waglé, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “That’s 10,000 Californians who won't get birth control, or breast and cervical cancer screenings, who will have no access to testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases or HIV/AIDS. That’s not a reproductive health care crisis … that’s a public health care crisis.”’

Without a reimbursement rate increase, Planned Parenthood simply can’t compete with hospitals and private physician groups to hire nurses and other clinicians. Staff vacancies have forced patients to wait for as long as six weeks to access vital services such as family planning. This lack of access translates into an increased risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection.

“The Governor and the Legislature both agree that increasing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates must be part of any final health care fix. The unfortunate reality is that our need is now, not tomorrow,” Waglé said. “We’ll continue to work with the legislative leadership to add money into the budget to adequately fund family planning programs and we hope that the Governor will sign a budget that includes a rate increase. It’s fiscally prudent and sound health policy.”

Family planning is one of the most cost-effective services in the state. Since its inception, California’s FamilyPACT program has saved the state more than $2 billion in medical and social services costs by preventing unintended pregnancies. For every $1 that California spends on family planning services, the state gains $9 in matching federal funds. On top of that, for every dollar the state spends on family planning, California taxpayers save an additional $5.33 in future medical and social service costs associated with unintended pregnancy up to five years after birth.


Planned Parenthood Los Angeles


May 31, 2007