East Texas health care center officials decry family funding cuts
Lufkin, TX — As the Texas Legislature cut funds for family planning programs during this year’s session, reducing family funding by nearly 70 percent from $111.5 million to $37.9 million in the 2012-13 biennium, family planning organizations are looking for ways to maintain their services.
For Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which serves Lufkin as well as Southeast Texas and Louisiana, its future as a provider in the Medicaid Women’s Health Program is uncertain.
“It’s devastating for the women that have come to us,” Rochelle Tafolla, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in a telephone interview from Houston. “The funds that the state used to provide are for preventive care, family planning, birth control and screenings for cervical cancer and breast exams. This program is for women who are uninsured, predominately poor women. They used to turn to Planned Parenthood as their provider of choice, and now there are no funds to utilize, so they will have to go without health care.”
According to a press release, Planned Parenthood’s health centers provide health care to more than 263,000 Texans annually, including 121,526 cervical cancer screenings, 123,122 breast cancer screenings, and 383,240 testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections.
There were over 5,000 client visits to the Lufkin location last year, Tafolla said.
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