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As published in Redlands Daily Facts.

A local organization is serving clients in need of comprehensive primary health care who face barriers to service.

Planned Parenthood, a national organization, has 49 affiliates that are separately franchised. Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties is one of these separate 501(c)(3) organizations. It has three health centers in San Bernardino County, serving the cities of San Bernardino, Upland and Victorville.

The organization provides care regardless of insurance, immigration status or ability to pay. Reproductive health fees are on a sliding scale. Last year the organization provided $3.5 million in care to those who were unable to pay for needed care.

Planned Parenthood provides a full range of reproductive health services and education, including cancer screening, birth control, and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment. In addition, the San Bernardino and Upland Health Centers offers comprehensive primary care with Melody Health. The organization offers abortion services, but 94% of its services are preventive care.

“We have worked very hard to make sure we have beautiful health care centers, the highest quality staff and the best equipment,” the organization’s President and CEO Jon Dunn said. “We want to make sure our patients are treated with dignity and respect and receive the highest quality care possible.”

Access to this care has been a lifesaver for some patients, according to Dunn. One patient who found a lump in her breast visited the primary-care practice with nowhere else to go. She was in her 50s and had not been to a doctor for many years. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Planned Parenthood got her qualified for Medi-Cal and helped her manage her referrals, treatment, and post-operation care.

“She felt she found a guardian angel when she came to Planned Parenthood because we were able to get her the diagnosis, the care she needed and support her through the care,” Dunn said. “We hear over and over from patients that until they found us, they ran into a lot of barriers to receiving care.”

Planned Parenthood has worked to ensure all its services remained available throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The organization implemented several new programs, including video and phone consultations as well as contact-free prescription services. Nearly 45% of patient visits are now done through remote consultations or drive-up prescription pick ups.

COVID-19 vaccinations have also been available at Planned Parenthood clinics and the organization hopes to offer them again soon. Currently, it is waiting for the state to provide the vaccines before making appointments available. A portion of the population is uncomfortable with getting the vaccine, Dunn said, and he hopes Planned Parenthood will be a trusted place for people to get informed and vaccinated.

Recently, the organization received a grant through the San Bernardino Nonprofit Assistance Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. Grants and donations assist Planned Parenthood in providing medical care to those in need.

Its serves approximately 30,000 patients and manages 60,000 appointments in San Bernardino County annually.

The organization also hopes to expand to help meet the needs of the growing San Bernardino County population. It hopes to potentially add centers in the city of San Bernardino as well as Rialto or Fontana. The organization continues to need community support for its work and efforts to expand locally. It welcomes donations, but also needs advocates.

“We very much value the community support we get,” Dunn said. “We would appreciate giving at any level and if you believe in what we do, let your elected officials know that.”

Information: 909-890-5515 or https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-orange-san-bernardino.

Inland Empire Community Foundation works to strengthen Inland Southern California through philanthropy.