Family Planning & Health Services clinic in Decorah to close - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family Planning & Health Services clinic in Decorah to close

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A longtime family planning clinic in Decorah say they are being forced to closed their doors because of tight state and federal funding. The closing leaves more than 600 women in the area without a resource for their reproductive health care. 

The Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) Board of Directors voted Monday night, February 27, 2017, at their meeting to close the longtime Family Planning and Health Services clinic in Decorah after June 30, 2017.

That's when their contract with the Iowa Department of Public Health ends.

The clinic serves more than 600 women in surrounding counties. The clinic has been a resource for low-income women seeking reproductive health services-like birth control, Pap smears, STD screenings and breast exams. 

The board discussed for over an hour about the history of the program and what options were available for the program. They say funding and insurance reimbursement rates are the big reasons they're shutting down.

Agency director Mary Ann Humpal says the government has been giving them the same amount of money for the last 15 years.

"I mean this is a multi-tiered problem that has continually gotten worse,' said Humpal. "And we got to the point we were investing so much money into the program, that we started to jeopardize the other programs in our umbrella. And when we looked at the landscape as far as federal funding and state funding, we just couldn't see it to go on."

Staff at the clinic say their biggest concern is their patients, who's next closest option will be an hour and a half away.

"We're getting calls of great concern and anxiety about what's going to happen," said Health Programs Director Lori Egan. "Where are they going to go? How are they going to get services?"

Egan says the program is frustrated by the lack of money for what they believe is a vital resource for a number of low income women who can't get the care elsewhere.

"We will look to our representative to respond to increased STD rates, increased unattended pregnancy rates, probably increased abortions and see what their response is," said Egan. 

The clinic's closing will not affect their sex education programs. 

The Family Planning staff says they'll use the next four months working help find alternative providers for their clients. 

That clinic provides services to residents of: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek Counties.

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