Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky — also called PPINK — is closing its Terre Haute health center July 20 because of a decline in patient use and revenues.
“We are operating in the red” at the Terre Haute location, Betty Cockrum, PPINK president and CEO, told the Tribune-Star in an interview. Still, closing any health center “is painful, and very regrettable. ... We try hard not to close any locations.”
Planned Parenthood has operated a health center in Terre Haute for 56 years.
PPINK has been monitoring Terre Haute’s numbers the last few years and came to the conclusion those numbers will not be turning around, Cockrum said. In fiscal year 2015, it served 1,605 separate patients; in 2005, it served 4,159 patients, a 62 percent decline in 10 years.
The Terre Haute health center, 30 S. Third St., has four employees, who can transfer to other sites.
Cockrum anticipates more closures for PPINK in the future. “I think it’s highly likely there will be an announcement of additional closures in the near future,” Cockrum said. It currently has 25 health centers, 23 in Indiana and two in Kentucky. It also has administrative offices.
Letters have been sent to patients of the Terre Haute health center, where the notification also has been posted.
“We are offering to transfer patient records for anyone who requests it, but if they don’t reach out by July 20, those records will be sent to the Bloomington Planned Parenthood health center, which is the closest,” said Ali Slocum, PPINK spokeswoman.
The letter includes another possible Terre Haute provider, Indiana University Health Bloomington/Positive Link, 1101 S. 13th St., Terre Haute, 812-353-9150.
The letter reads, “We recognize the disruption and inconvenience this may cause you. Unfortunately, due to increasing costs, we are no longer able to support a health center in Terre Haute. We are grateful for the support of our patients and the community over the past 56 years.”
Cockrum explained there are several factors that have led to declining revenues and numbers of patients served, and it’s not unique to PPINK. She characterized it as “mission vs. margin tension.”
In 2012, Pap test recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists changed to every three years, which led to a significant drop in the number of patients seen each year by PPINK systemwide. “We celebrated the mission advance,” Cockrum said, “but we regret the impact on our bottom line.”
Another factor involved over-the-counter emergency contraception, sometimes called morning-after pills. In 2006, those became available over-the-counter for those 18 and older. In 2013, they became available over-the-counter with no age restrictions.
While it was an important change for young women, it also led to a further decline in patients, particularly among 18-year-olds, she said.
Also, the Affordable Care Act means more people have health insurance, and it also has provided more options as far as where people can obtain birth control. “It has created a fall-off in traffic” for PPINK, Cockrum said.
Clients of the Terre Haute health center who have questions can call 1-800-230-PLAN. Other information can be found at www.ppink.org.
Another option for services in Terre Haute is Health Connection, part of Pace Community Action Agency Inc., located at 501 Hospital Lane, Suite 101. It is a Title X provider; Title X is a federal grant program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services for individuals, with priority to low-income.