December 27, 2011
State Acknowledges They Have No Ready Cancer Coordination, Looks to Planned Parenthood for Continued Interim Care
Madison - Late on Friday afternoon, the Department of Health Services (DHS) acknowledged the gap in cancer care created by their sudden decision to end Planned Parenthood’s Well Woman contract by petitioning Planned Parenthood to continue the cancer care program for another 60 days. After repeated efforts by health department staff and patients from the four affected counties and their local governments to communicate serious concerns regarding the state’s abrupt removal of Planned Parenthood and the resulting disruption to the Well Woman Program, the state was forced to backtrack late last week when service gaps became clear.
“Unlike the Walker administration, Planned Parenthood believes women’s health should be the priority, not personal politics,” stated Planned Parenthood President and CEO, Teri Huyck. “Despite our disappointment and concern regarding the Walker administration’s abrupt decision to end our 16 year partnership, Planned Parenthood today has signed off on a 60 day contract to ensure cancer services to 1,000 women continue while they are transitioned to another service coordinator.”
Late last week, Doug Gieryn, director of the Winnebago County Health Department stepped forward to provide oversight of the Well Woman Program when it became clear that the state had no other ready solution.
“On behalf of the four counties and eight health department jurisdictions impacted by this commitment, I wish to communicate that we all disagree with the timeliness, manner and intent to exclude PPWI from administering the WWWP in our areas,” stated Gieryn. “The services offered under PPWI administration were already excellent and there was no need to make this transition necessary, particularly in the last minute, back door, political statement making way it was done,” Gieryn concluded. To view the full content of Winnebago County’s announcement, click here.
Despite statements from Governor Walker last week pronouncing that there are ‘many of other providers who do this work,’ Planned Parenthood was one of the founders of the Well Woman program back in 1995 because of the gap in cancer services to at risk women. In other areas of the state Planned Parenthood is the only place for under or uninsured women to turn to for affordable cancer screenings, referrals and other health care services. Earlier this year, Governor Walker barred Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds for cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing and treatment and has hinted at future restrictions intended to reduce patient access to Planned Parenthood.
“As it has for over 75 years, women’s health remains the priority at Planned Parenthood,” stated Teri Huyck. “Planned Parenthood believes women need and deserve ready access to compassionate and affordable health care services, particularly during these challenging economic times. Despite Governor Walker’s continued political attacks on women’s health, we remain more committed than ever to rising above these political games to deliver essential health care to keep Wisconsin families safe, healthy and strong.”