HANNIBAL (WGEM) — A program that provided thousands of low-income families in northeast Missouri with access to medical and family planning services is set to close in late March.
NECAC officials have said that after 30 years their family planning program will end with the closing of clinics in Hannibal, Bowling Green, Warrenton and O’Fallon on March 31.
The program offered family planning services such as prenatal education, STD screening and treatment, pap smears, and health checkups for both men and women.
Public relations manager Brent Engel said that at one point the program was serving 5,000 people a year, but by 2021 that number had dropped to less than 1,000.
Engel said they attribute the drop in client numbers to a number of factors, including other providers available through Medicaid, different health insurance plans for low-income families, and people hesitant to go to clinics. healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the drop in customer numbers has resulted in a loss of federal funding. Combined with a lack of state resources, Engel said it is no longer possible for NECAC to financially support the program.
He said the decision to end the program was not easy.
“The sad thing is that we will no longer be able to serve tens of thousands of people like we have in the past,” Engel said. “It’s a program that saves lives. A family planning client told me about how a NECAC family planning exam saved her life. »
Engel said they had a deficit of $75,000 this year, but were using reserve funds to cover the deficit, as they have in the past.
He said they would help the customer find new services and suppliers.
“We know it can be a little stressful so we’re here to help and urge people to give us a call and let us know how we can help them transition to someone else” , Engel said.
If you are a patient or looking for other clinics in your area, you can call 573-221-3404 or visit the Missouri Family Health Council. website.
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