Texas Excludes Many Organizations From Women's Health Program

January 19, 2011 — The Texas Department of State Health Services on Tuesday released a sharply curtailed list of organizations that will receive state funding to offer family planning and other women's health services, the Texas Tribune reports.

The 41 organizations on the list will receive a total of $12.4 million through March 31, 2013, to provide low-income women with contraceptive services, testing for sexually transmitted infections and screenings for breast and cervical cancer. The number of organizations receiving the funding is down from 71 during the previous two-year period. No Planned Parenthood affiliates were included on the list, although three will receive some temporary funding for the next few months. In those cases, there either were no other applicants that met the criteria or no applicants from their regions.

Carrie Williams, a DSHS spokesperson, said the agency was directed to identify funding recipients based on a three-tiered model, which prioritized public community clinics, federally qualified health centers and private comprehensive care clinics over ones that offer only family planning services. Among the organizations and clinics that will not receive funding, 12 were denied because they are in regions already covered by "tier one" providers.

Sarah Wheat, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, said, "When you look at who's now funded or temporarily funded, I think it makes it clear that this represents a shredding of the health care system that's been built up over decades."

During its last session, the state Legislature reduced family planning funding by two-thirds, from $111.5 million for 2010 through 2011 to $37.9 million for the next two years (Tan, Texas Tribune, 1/17).