NECAC ending Family Planning Health Services program March 31

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After more than 30 years, the not-for-profit North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) is ending its Family Planning Health Services program March 31.

The decision was approved March 22 by the NECAC Board of Directors, and covers NECAC Family Planning clinics in Hannibal, Bowling Green, Warrenton and O’Fallon. The agency is notifying patients, who will be directed 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 dropped as the number of clients has decreased substantially during the last few years. Even with efforts to increase revenue, the program has operated in the red – around $75,000 this year. The deficit is being made up from other sources. In addition, the COVID pandemic impacted staffing and client visits.

“This was a difficult decision, but one we had to made,” NECAC President and Chief Executive Officer Don Patrick said. “We are proud to have operated life-saving family planning clinics, and we want patients to know that we will do all we can to make sure their needs are met before the program shuts down.”

“The delivery of exceptional family planning services has always been NECAC’s top priority and we are saddened that we will no longer be able to serve Missouri’s northeast region,” NECAC Community Health Service Programs Directors Brenda Fuqua said. “It is a great regret that we could not make the program sustainable.”

About 30 percent of NECAC’s 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 the program was no longer financially viable.

The decision means the layoff 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, options counseling, prenatal education, sexually-transmitted disease testing and treatment, Pap smears and Well Women and Well Men exams. The agency also was a Show-Me Healthy Women program provider.

The NECAC In-Home Senior Health Services and Women, Infants and Children programs are not affected, although an unrelated reorganization of In-Home is planned.

NECAC’s Family Planning facilities will operate until March 31. The Missouri Immunization Program has Gardasil records that can be accessed at local health departments.

NECAC Family planning patients who may need referrals to other providers should call 573-221-3404. Information may also be found at www.mfhc.org.

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