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Women’s Health Clinics in California Struggle in a Shifting Health Care Landscape | State of Health

Closures and consolidations have been growing amongst group clinics that present reproductive health providers.

Two beloved women’s clinics in San Francisco are consolidating with outdoors companions in order to maintain working. Another two, in Santa Rosa and Sacramento, have shut their doorways.  All 4 have been unintended casualties  of the Affordable Care Act, which shifted funds and altered incentives all through California’s health business.

Because of the health regulation, extra women in California have protection for a full vary of health providers via Medi-Cal. As a outcome, many of these women at the moment are going to a common physician or main care middle for his or her household planning wants, as an alternative of a devoted women’s clinic. In addition, the state is paying these clinics much less cash underneath Obamacare.

“Of course, I love the Affordable Care Act, but it was very harmful to reproductive health clinics,” stated Dr. Rebecca Jackson, director of New Generation, a teen clinic in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. New Generation  introduced final spring it must shut, however then UCSF agreed to fund it another yr.

This week, managers introduced the subsequent steps to make sure the clinic’s ongoing survival.  New Generation will transfer into a smaller, shared workplace; associate with the town’s Department of Public Health to cowl administrative prices similar to billing and medical data; and proceed intensive and pressing fund-raising efforts in the personal sector.

“That allows us to get long-term sustainability that we didn’t have as a free-standing clinic,” Jackson stated.

In Sacramento, Women’s Health Specialists couldn’t get the numbers to work and shut down final month. Their Santa Rosa location closed two years in the past. Outgoing director Shauna Heckert warned the identical might occur to the three remaining clinics in Grass Valley, Chico, and Redding if the state doesn’t improve Medi-Cal reimbursements. That’s one thing Governor Jerry Brown has refused to do for years.

“Number one, raising rates for poor people’s health care is not popular,” Heckert defined. “Number two, raising rates for reproductive health  — that includes abortion and chlamydia [and] gonorrhea — is certainly not something people even feel comfortable talking about.”

Women’s clinics at the moment are lobbying state lawmakers, asking them to direct some of the revenues from the newly-passed tobacco tax particularly to them. The Legislature should move the state finances by June 15th.

But the Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco couldn’t wait to see what may occur with the state price range.  The clinic, which had beforehand suffered a momentary closure and re-organization in 1999, introduced a merger this week with HealthProper360, a statewide nonprofit health system.

Carlina Hansen, the clinic’s government director, defined that the Women’s Community Clinic had misplaced some federal grants. But she famous that the merger with HealthProper360 may also profit her sufferers: in addition to household planning, they’ll have the ability to entry main care, psychological health providers and habit remedy.

“It was not all about money,” stated Hansen, who will step down from operating the clinic after 17 years. “It was really also about adapting, to do better for our clients in the future.”

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April Dembosky

April Dembosky is the health reporter for The California Report and KQED News. She covers health coverage and public health, and has reported extensively on the economics of health care, the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act in California, psychological health and end-of-life points.

Her work is frequently rebroadcast on NPR and has been acknowledged with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists (for sports activities reporting), and the Association of Health Care Journalists (for a story about pediatric hospice). Her hour-long radio documentary about house funerals gained the Best New Artist award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009.

April sometimes moonlights on the humanities beat, overlaying music and dance. Her story concerning the first symphony orchestra at Burning Man gained the award for Best Use of Sound from the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Before becoming a member of KQED in 2013, April coated know-how and Silicon Valley for The Financial Times, and freelanced for Marketplace and The New York Times. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Smith College.

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