Clinics that serve the poor and underinsured will get less money to pay for reproductive healthcare and family planning for the coming year. It's just one of many cuts, as the state works to reconcile its books for 2010.
At Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, some patients will pay more out-of-pocket for annual gynecological exams and birth control. Spokeswoman Julie McKeiver says one-in-four patients are teenagers. And that group is likely to be most affected by these cuts.
"We do have several other programs in which we can place out clients or help them get access to other available means of support for family planning services," she says. "Unfortunately many of those programs are not available to teens."
The organization has clinics in Traverse City, Marquette and Petoskey -- as well as in Grand Rapids and Ionia. The clinics charge for services including birth control and annual gynecological exams on a sliding fee scale, based on a patient's ability to pay. The state is cutting their budget by $350,000 dollars.
"The bottom line is that we simply can no longer operate as a free clinic," McKeiver says. "So clients should be prepared to hear that there will be a charge for their service."
Teens can also get annual exams and testing for sexually transmitted diseases on a sliding-fee scale at school-based teen health clinics. But those programs do not provide birth control.
Reproductive health services are also available at area health departments. A spokeswoman for the Northwest Michigan Health Agency says they too are seeing cuts for family planning. But that agency does not plan to raise fees.