Sign Up for Action Alerts
December 15, 2011
DHS Reiterates Desire to End Partnership with Planned Parenthood and Hints at Additional Statewide Changes to Cancer Program Serviced by Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Health care Providers
Affected Patients and Community Health Partners Call on State to Stop
Appleton - Today, affected patients and members of the public health community stood with Planned Parenthood to urge Governor Walker and his political appointee, Dennis Smith, to stop the planned changes to the Well Woman Program that will interrupt cancer screenings, treatment and referrals to 1000 women in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties. Following Planned Parenthood’s open letter issued Monday calling on the Governor and Secretary to clarify their plan to care for the 1,000 women currently entrusted to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin for cancer care, staff with the Department of Health Services confirmed their intent to end their partnership with Planned Parenthood and again offered no plan for how to provide cancer care for the women in the four affected counties. Equally disturbing, department staff indicated that they are also preparing to potentially enact additional restrictions to bar cancer care services provided by Planned Parenthood and any affiliated health care entity throughout the entire state of Wisconsin in anticipation of the passage of recently introduced bills AB 386 and SB 331.
At a press event today, affected patients and public health providers called on Governor Walker and Secretary Smith to maintain the Well Woman Program partnership with Planned Parenthood to ensure women’s continued access to breast and cervical cancer care.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Planned Parenthood, because I didn’t know about the Well Woman Program until I came to the Planned Parenthood health center in Appleton,” stated Carol Lechner, PPWI and WWWP patient. “Without this program and Planned Parenthood, women like me would have no other options.”
Area health providers characterized Planned Parenthood as the ‘premier source of women’s health care for women’ and the state’s apparent plan as a dangerous disservice to area residents that will have serious health ramifications for over a thousand women.
Winnebago County Health Officer Director Douglas Gieryn stated that, “targeting Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in attempts to limit their operations is a disservice to our residents, disrupts continuity of care, reduces access to care and is counterproductive toward reducing Wisconsin’s health care costs.”
Outagamie County Health Officer, Melody Bockenfeld agreed, adding, “withholding the Well Woman Program contract from Planned Parenthood only serves to prevent vulnerable women from receiving preventative and cost-effective cancer care from their chosen and trusted provider.”
"The politics behind Governor Walker’s plan to end Planned Parenthood’s service to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, both in care coordination and direct provision of cancer screenings and referral, is becoming clearer,” stated Teri Huyck, President and CEO for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “We urge Governor Walker and Secretary Smith to hear the voices of our patients and community partners, asking them to put women’s health above their personal politics and maintain Planned Parenthood’s role in providing access to life-saving cancer screenings.”
Since the inception of this program in 1995, Planned Parenthood has been a valued and proud partner with the state of Wisconsin in administrating the Well Woman Program. Planned Parenthood is audited regularly by the state and always found to be in compliance with all requirements, including mandated prohibitions on abortion referrals or services.
For over 75 years, Planned Parenthood has been a trusted nonprofit health care provider that provides professional, reliable, and quality health care--including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment--to over 70,000 women and men across Wisconsin.
To view the full text of the open letter to Governor Walker and Secretary Smith, click here.