Planned Parenthood cites financial struggles as the reason for three of its clinics closing this week in Vacaville, Pittsburg and Richmond.
California's recently approved budget includes tens of millions of dollars for community clinics, which could potentially go to Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. However, CEO Kathy Kneer says that money won't be allocated until next year and they needed to cut costs this year.
She says they decided to close clinics in areas where there are other nearby options for patients.
"And I hope they can understand how difficult this decision was to close these three health centers because we've been committed to expanding access, and we can't sustain it,” Kneer says.
The main reason for the closures is Medi-Cal reimbursement rates are so low, clinics are losing money on most of the patients they see, she says. Also in mind is the federal government wanting to defund the organization.
Kneer hopes Vacaville residents will visit their location in Fairfield.
A woman named April who got free STD medication at the Vacaville Planned Parenthood says the closure will be a loss.
"Just having a Planned Parenthood in all of these cities, being easily accessible is a good thing,” April says. “You know, not making it so difficult to where someone will just be like, 'well, nevermind, I'm just gonna like not take care of this problem I have.' "
Nicole Lowe got birth control from the Vacaville clinic when she was 18 and uninsured and working as a waitress. She says people who used that clinic may not have transportation to go to Fairfield or Sacramento.
"The people that have to go to these clinics and choose to go to these clinics are the lower-income, no-insurance, younger teenage kids that can't afford to go out and go to the doctor or are afraid to talk to their parents," Lowe says.
California recently approved a $20 million emergency fund for community clinics in response to the possible federal cuts from the Republican health care plan being considered by Congress.
The clinics’ last day is Friday.
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