Open Letter to Governor Walker and Secretary Smith
December 12, 2011
Dear Governor Walker and Secretary Dennis Smith,
On December 1st, Planned Parenthood was contacted by an employee of the Department of Health and Services by phone to notify us that as of January 1, 2012 you will be ending our 16-year partnership facilitating breast and cervical cancer screenings as a part of the Wisconsin Well Women program in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties. During that conversation, no further explanation for this decision or information providing us with direction on the State’s alternative plan for this program in the affected counties was shared. Since that phone call, we have not received any written confirmation of this decision nor any information regarding how we or our public health partners should direct the 1,000 women currently entrusted to us for their cancer care.
Planned Parenthood has been a proud partner with the State of Wisconsin in administering the Well Woman program since its inception in 1995. For sixteen years, Planned Parenthood’s role in the Well Woman Program has been regarded as a model due to our strong community relationships, referral networks and because women have long trusted us for accurate information and professional non-judgmental care.
As a health care provider who has cared for thousands of women seeking compassionate cancer services in the Well Woman Program, we are stunned by this abrupt decision and concerned about the continued health and well-being of the women we serve in this program. Continued and uninterrupted cancer services to the women in the four affected counties are critical to these women’s health and lives. As such, we call on you to immediately provide Planned Parenthood and the 1,000 women currently entrusted to us for critical cancer care with information about who will provide for their health care needs starting January 1, 2012.
Successful cancer screenings and treatment referrals cannot wait for new systems to be built and put into place. Without an immediate plan for the continuation of cancer care in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties, you are putting women’s health and lives at grave risk.
Time is of the essence. The health and lives of women in these counties are at risk. Please clarify your intentions today.
President and CEO
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin