Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced Friday that it plans to close its Hays health center to save its larger Wichita clinic after an appeals court let Kansas strip the agency’s federal family planning funding.
The organization also said it would no longer be able to provide free contraceptives and other no-cost medical services to low-income patients in Wichita without the federal money, but community donations will allow it to still offer affordable health care there.
Court documents show the two nonprofit clinics were operating at a loss even before losing the $330,000 annual influx of funds from Title X, a federally financed family planning program.
The Title X money targets low-income people seeking reproductive services such as birth control, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. It cannot be used for abortions.
The Hays Center will continue seeing patients until June 26 and close June 30. Its closure leaves Ellis County without a Title X health care provider. The clinic manager and a nurse practitioner will lose their jobs in Hays, but no staff cuts are planned at the Wichita facility.
Interim CEO Ron Ellifrits said Planned Parenthood has provided health care in Kansas for more than 75 years and won’t let the changes keep it from staying committed to high-quality affordable health care.
“We’re still here for our patients, and we are fighting every day to maintain, restore, or expand access to health care in Kansas despite all the obstacles in our path,” Ellifrits said in a written statement.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday its staff is working to find additional family planning services and looking at other options as it determines awards of one-year contracts for Title X providers in the state.
“We don’t want people to miss the services that they need,” said Tim Keck, deputy chief counsel for the department.
The issue arises from Kansas law requiring the state to first allocate Title X money to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no funds for specialty family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood.
In March, a sharply divided panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a federal judge’s ruling that had temporarily kept Planned Parenthood’s funding intact while the organization challenged a Kansas law.
Planned Parenthood subsequently dropped its legal challenge to the state law.
More than 5,700 people receive health care services at the Hays and Wichita clinics.