PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texas woman are already feeling the fallout from the funding fight for women’s health clinics. Some clinics are starting to close. That is leaving women with fewer choices, and other health clinics being forced to pick up the slack.
The Collin County Adult Clinic is a nonprofit primary care facility. They handle things like asthma, diabetes and blood tests. Now, they’re getting ready to add pap smears and mammograms to their services.
Guadalupe Hernandez was diagnosed with asthma last year. She came to the Collin County Adult Clinic for a checkup. “We pay only $20 at first and then $15 every time we come here,” Hernandez said.
Margie Lopez came in because she was feeling pain in her joints. She pays $15. “That’s one of the things I like,” she said. “I wish they would make more like this to help out people. I really do.” Lopez goes to another clinic for her women’s health checkups.
Hernandez goes to Planned Parenthood for her pap smears and mammograms. “They always provide low prices and I think I had the mammogram last year free,” Hernandez said. Where would she go if her Planned Parenthood clinic shut down? “Good question. I don’t know. We need to do something about it.”
Two low cost Collin County clinics not affiliated with Planned Parenthood have already shut down. One was the McKinney Family Planning Center and the other was a clinic operated by Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas in east Plano. “I am sorry the other clinics are closing down, because other women need these clinics,” said Collin County Adult Clinic executive director John Ernst.
The Collin County Adult Clinic is already seeing 5,000 patients each year. Now, they’re planning to take on more women. “We have to step it up, because we’re seeing more people and we will be seeing more women,” Ernst said. They will open an additional clinic only treating women’s health issues. “We’ll be seeing women, probably, who are over 40 and who are needing some of these issues, who are needing the breast exams and then the mammography and pap smears.”
The clinic will not perform abortions. It will only provide women’s health care one Saturday morning every month.
As for the fight over state funding for Planned Parenthood, and the future of the Women’s Health Program, Ernst did not want to comment. “We’re just here to help women. That’s all we do,” he said.
The Collin County Adult Clinic will see women at its facility located on 4100 West 15th Street. It will also be known as the West Side Clinic. They will start seeing their first patients the third week of June, and then expand as they are able. “It’ll stress them out and stress out our finances, but it’s good work. It’s good work. It really is,” Ernst said.
For Hernandez, it is already a relief to know that she will have somewhere to go if she needs it. “Wow! That’s wonderful,” she said.
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