Funding Changes Reduce Family Planning Services for Shenandoah Central Health District

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – The Central Shenandoah Health District has announced a change in the services it provides.

After Wednesday, July 20, they will no longer be able to provide family planning. The health district said condom distribution and STI testing and treatment would not be impacted.

Programs such as birth control and pregnancy counseling, breast exams, cervical cancer screenings and pregnancy diagnosis will not be available until early 2023.

These changes are due to a lack of Title X funding. Laura Lee Wight, population health officer for the Central Health District of Shenandoah, said Title X is a federal grant program that provides funds for the family planning.

“There are a lot of vendors across the country who are interested in participating in Title X and wanted to be a beneficiary of Title X, which is fantastic. Congress has not increased the budget for Title X. What you have is that there are more vendors applying for funding, and the funding has not increased. That means there have to be cuts somewhere,” Wight said.

Wight said CSHD received a near-total cut in its funds. In order to decide where and how much funding would be cut, the Virginia Department of Health weighed a few factors.

“The state had to look at what other Title X providers are in the area, as well as what our patient volumes looked like. Our patient volume is lower than it has been for the past two years, so that was part of the decision the state made to reduce our funds,” Wight said.

Other health districts will be impacted. There are two other providers in the area: the Rockbridge Area Health Center and the Healthy Communities Health Center. Patients can go there to receive similar care.

“Title X is general: same eligibility status, relatively same cost. If someone is uninsured or underinsured, they can use Title X programs at other facilities and receive planning services family home at low or no cost, depending on eligibility,” Wight.

STI testing and treatment, as well as condom distribution, are still available because they come from a different funding stream.

Wight said the cut in funds was unrelated to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“This decision was made in April. We have received the information and have communicated with our government and local partners, community partners and patients accordingly since then,” she said.

Wight said CSHD is able to help navigate the healthcare system for anyone in need.

“We are disappointed to no longer provide this service to our community, but we are comforted to know that there are other providers in our district who can provide Title X services, as well as private providers,” he said. she declared.

The CSHD still provides many services, such as vaccinations and environmental health. You can email CSHD with questions at [email protected]

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