After more than 30 years, the nonprofit North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) is ending its family planning and health services program on March 31.
The decision was approved March 22 by the NECAC Board of Directors and covers NECAC’s family planning clinics in Hannibal, Bowling Green, Warrenton and O’Fallon. The agency notifies patients, who will be referred to other providers.
The program received federal Title X funding from the Missouri Family Health Council and served more than 1,000 people in 2021.
However, funding for services has declined as the number of clients has dropped significantly over the past few years. Even with efforts to increase revenue, the program has been in the red – about $75,000 this year. The shortfall is made up from other sources. IAdditionally, the COVID pandemic has impacted staffing and customer visits.
“It was a tough decision, but we had to make it,” said NECAC President and CEO Don Patrick. “We are proud to have run lifesaving family planning clinics, and we want patients to know that we will do everything we can to ensure their needs are met before the program closes.”
“Providing exceptional family planning services has always been NECAC’s top priority and we are saddened to no longer be able to serve the northeast Missouri region,” said Brenda Fuqua, director of community health services programs at NECAC. . “It’s a big regret that we couldn’t make the program sustainable.”
About 30% of NECAC patients were uninsured and fell below the federal poverty level for 2021. Between the lack of broader Medicaid expansion in Missouri and other state resources, Fuqua said declared that the program was no longer financially viable.
The decision means the dismissal of three employees. The clinics offered a variety of affordable family planning services to people of all ages, including birth control services and education, pregnancy testing, counseling on options, prenatal education, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, pap smears and Well Women and Well Men exams. The agency was also a provider of the Show-Me Healthy Women program.
The NECAC In-Home Senior Health Services and Women, Infants and Children programs are not affected, although a reorganization unrelated to In-Home is planned.
NECAC’s family planning facilities will operate until March 31. The Missouri Immunization Program has Gardasil records available at local health departments.
NECAC family planning patients who may need referrals to other providers should call 573-221-3404. Information can also be found at www.mfhc.org.