June 4, 2013
Last November, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas actively supported Proposition 1 and our efforts to remake health care in Travis County. This week, the board of Central Health (Travis County’s healthcare district) will take a huge step toward fulfilling the promise of Proposition 1 by approving the Community Care Collaborative master agreement. This agreement will be a key part of the foundation our community will need to achieve the vision of 10 Goals in 10 Years, with uniquely Austin clinics, better mental health services and more. Planned Parenthood emailed their supporters yesterday urging support of the master agreement, noting it will protect and enhance women’s health, while also filling in holes that were created by the Governor and others who put politics ahead of Texas women. Here’s what Planned Parenthood had to say:
Last November, Travis County voters approved Prop. 1 to enable Central Health to expand health care services for uninsured Travis County residents through a new collaborative partnership between Central Health and Seton. This new partnership, the Community Care Collaborative, creates a source of local and federal funding for health care, drawing down $1.46 in federal funding for every dollar funded locally. Prop. 1 also approved creation of the UT Medical School for which planning is underway.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas endorsed Prop. 1 because of the opportunities it created to expand and improve health care in Travis County, and because of Central Health’s historical commitment to women’s family planning and health care services for local residents. Because of Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of Prop. 1, we will continue to track these initiatives, and advocate that women’s health services are protected and supported.
Today, we are pleased to note that Central Health’s on-going commitment to women’s health is in place. The newly posted Community Care Collaborative master agreement specifically addresses women’s health, and ensures that services such as birth control will continue to be available to uninsured and low-income Travis County residents through this partnership. The majority of Community Care Collaborative’s new Board will be comprised of Central Health Board members, and the master agreement ensures that Central Health has the unilateral right to approve, fund and deliver any women’s health care services allowable by law. This master agreement will be discussed and reviewed by the Central Health Board this Wednesday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to attend, the public hearing will be held at Central Health’s offices at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez in Austin.
Why this is important: The Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry made national and international news when they came after women’s health in 2011, slashing 2/3 of funding for birth control; basic well woman exams, including cervical and breast cancer screenings; HIV tests; and tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) statewide. As a result, more than 50 family planning centers in Texas have closed, including 14 Planned Parenthood health centers; and an estimated 130,000 Texas women lost access to health care services as a result. Here in Austin, El Buen Samaritano, People’s Community Clinic, and Planned Parenthood lost all funding for women’s health and family planning services in 2011—funds that had provided vital health screenings and exams to more than 7,000 uninsured and low-income Texans locally.
Central Health—and many of you—stepped in to provide funding and donations so that these services would still be accessible in Travis County, and at Planned Parenthood. As a result of local support, not one of the health clinics that closed statewide was in Travis County.
The Austin and Travis County community has always stood up for women’s health—especially when it is under political attack. With the master agreement approved by Central Health, Travis County will continue to support, and fund, these vital family planning services.
We will continue to keep you posted on any updates.
Thank you for your continued support,
Ken S. Lambrecht, President and CEO, and Sarah J. Wheat, VP for Community Affairs, on behalf of the Board and Staff at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas