Blog Post

(Primary) Care…No Matter What.

Today’s blog post comes from one of our grantees and longtime partners, Susan Lloyd Yolen, Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

Recently, a new patient was diagnosed with anxiety and high blood pressure at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s (PPSNE) health center in Hartford’s North End.  While that diagnosis sounds pretty routine, offering primary care in a women’s reproductive health setting is actually quite new for PPSNE.

Not only was the clinician on site that day able to address the patient’s primary care needs, but she was connected to an enrollment specialist who helped her (and her daughter) sign up for health insurance.

A relieved and grateful patient thanked PPSNE for treating her as a “whole person.”

With a particularly high demand for primary care in Hartford, PPSNE is in the process of developing additional primary care services at our Hartford North center on Albany Avenue.  The Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded PPSNE a generous grant to help integrate primary care services into our family planning and reproductive health care program.

While you probably think about Planned Parenthood as a go-to provider for your PAP test, for STD testing and treatment, or a great birth control method, PPSNE’s expanded services in Hartford North now include the diagnosis and management of acute conditions such as upper respiratory infections and rashes, as well as chronic conditions like acne, migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heartburn, smoking cessation and mild depression and anxiety.

Last fall, PPSNE was accepted into the Connecticut State Innovation Model’s (SIM) Advanced Medical Home (AMH) Vanguard program, which is providing our organization with consulting services and technical assistance. By this time next year, PPSNE should be ready to apply for status as a nationally recognized Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), becoming eligible to participate in programs such as PCMH+ being rolled out by the State Department of Social Services.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England has always been a leader in providing high-quality, evidence-based reproductive care. About 60,000 patients visit one of PPSNE’s 17 health centers in Connecticut annually and one in five American women has been a Planned Parenthood patient at one time in their lives.  Our affordable, accessible services foster a culture of health equity because we are a readily accessible, single point of health care entry for low income women, men, youth, and the LGBTQI community. Our patients have asked for primary care services at PPSNE because for them, quality care needs to be available, under one roof, and from health care providers they know and trust.

Despite attacks from opponents, Planned Parenthood is 100 years strong, and we plan to be around for 100 more. Offering primary care is one way of making good on our promise of Care. No Matter What.  Thanks, Connecticut Health Foundation, for your confidence and willingness to fund our innovation!