Federal budget cuts impact on local health services

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News release from IPFW:

Federal Budget Cuts Impact on Local Health Services

(March 8, 2011) – Proposed federal budget cuts could close local health services in less than two weeks. On February 9, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers released a list of proposed cuts to 2011 funding, including zeroing out the Title X program. The Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Lafayette Street Family Health Clinic operates under Title X funding and could
close if funding is cut.

The IPFW Lafayette Street Family Clinic, operated by the College of Health and Human Services, is the only clinic in Fort Wayne offering free women’s health services. The Clinic provides family health services such as testing and education for sexually transmitted infections (STI); pregnancy tests; pap smears; breast and pelvic exams; obstetrics/gynecological referrals; nutrition counseling; HIV/STI counseling; reproductive health education; and free or low-cost birth control. The Clinic, along with all Title X funded facilities, is prohibited from being used for abortions.

“Many women we see at our clinic verbalize that they would not be able to receive health care if it weren’t for our clinic,” said Amy Hartman, nurse practitioner and clinic director. “For many we’re the health care entry door.”

In the United States, 49-percent of pregnancies are unintended. Through early pregnancy diagnosis, the Clinic promotes healthy mothers who are informed about the importance of early prenatal care. The Clinic’s walk-in appointments allow for early diagnosis without the concern of cost. Also, its free or low-cost contraceptives offer women the option to plan their childbearing choices rather than risking unplanned pregnancies and the impact on women and their families.

Local health care providers rely on IPFW’s Clinic to address the growing problems related to unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancies,
and to provide reproductive health care services. Without access to low-cost or free birth control and counseling, pregnancy-related costs
to Indiana would increase by $37 million.

The majority of patients served by the IPFW Lafayette Street Family Clinic are below the poverty level.

[list type=”black”]
[li]24-percent of clients are 19 years old and younger[/li]
[li]92-percent of clients are 100-percent below the poverty level[/li]
[li]17-percent of clients are limited in English proficiency[/li]
[li]The clinic served more than 1,000 clients in 2010, of which only 6.5-percent received Medicaid and 3.5-percent had private insurance[/li]
[li]There were nearly 2,400 family planning visits in 2010[/li]
[/list]

“Hoosier families deserve professional, compassionate, and nonjudgmental reproductive and sexual health care regardless of their socio-economic status, age, or situation,” said Linda Finke, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Many women at our clinic are the patients who ‘fall between the cracks.’ They don’t qualify for Medicaid, yet they work at jobs that don’t provide health insurance or they can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs and premiums. Many women who work part-time jobs don’t even have the option of health insurance.”

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