The Daily Signal recently published my piece on why women don’t need Planned Parenthood and how they are actually better off if the $528 million in federal and state funds that is currently going to Planned Parenthood, is made available to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs).  These clinics offer more comprehensive women’s health care than Planned Parenthood ever has.  In fact, there is not one unique service that Planned Parenthood offers that women can’t get elsewhere.

For those interested in a more in-depth look at the specific services offered by FQHCs and RHCs, here are the findings. The primary health services that FQHCs and RHCs are listed and defined in the Public Health Service Act including general, preventive, diagnostic, emergency and pharmaceutical health services:

(i) basic health services which, for purposes of this section, shall consist of-
       (I) health services related to family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, or gynecology that are furnished by physicians and where appropriate, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives;
      (II) diagnostic laboratory and radiologic services;
      (III) preventive health services, including-
             (aa) prenatal and perinatal services
             (bb) appropriate cancer screening;
             (cc) well-child services;
             (dd) immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases;
             (ee) screenings for elevated blood lead levels, communicable diseases, and cholesterol;
             (ff) pediatric eye, ear, and dental screenings to determine the need for vision and hearing correction and dental care;
             (gg) voluntary family planning services; and
             (hh) preventive dental services;
    (IV) emergency medical services; and
    (V) pharmaceutical services as may be appropriate for particular centers;
(ii) referrals to providers of medical services
(iii) patient case management services
(iv) services that enable individuals to use the services of the health center
(v) education of patients and the general population served by the health center regarding the availability and proper use of health services.

In addition, the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual for FQHCs and RHCs lists the following covered services under Medicare for qualifying individuals.  RHC services listed in section 50.1 include:

  • Physicians' services of diagnosis, therapy, surgery, and consultation.  These include the services of doctors of medicine, osteopathy, dental surgery, dental medicine, podiatry, optometry, or chiropractic who are licensed and practicing.
  • Services of Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Physician Assistants (PAs), and Certified Nurse Midwife Services (CNMs).
  • Certified Psychologist (CP) and certified Social Worker (CSW) services.
  • Visiting nurse services to the homebound.

RHC services covered by Medicare also include certain preventive services such as:

  • Influenza, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B vaccinations;
  • Hepatitis C screenings;
  • IPPE;Annual Wellness Visit; and
  • Medicare-covered preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

FQHC services listed in section 50.2 include all of the above services listed in section 50.1 above, and specifically:

  • Screening mammography;
  • Screening pap smear and screening pelvic exam;
  • Prostate cancer screening tests;
  • Colorectal cancer screening tests;
  • Diabetes outpatient self-management training (DSMT) services;
  • Diabetes screening tests;
  • Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) services;
  • Bone mass measurement;
  • Screening for glaucoma;
  • Cardiovascular screening blood tests; and
  • Ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm

Another Health and Human Services (HHS) flyer on preventive primary health services shows that the following services are covered when furnished by FQHCs to a Medicare patient:

  • Medical social services;
  • Nutritional assessment and referral;
  • Preventive health education;
  • Children’s eye and ear examinations;
  • Well child care, including periodic screening;
  • Immunizations, including tetanus-diphtheria booster and influenza vaccine;
  • Voluntary family planning services;
  • Taking patient history;
  • Blood pressure measurement;
  • Weight measurement;
  • Physical examination targeted to risk;
  • Visual acuity screening;
  • Hearing screening;
  • Cholesterol screening;
  • Stool testing for occult blood;
  • Tuberculosis testing for high risk patients;
  • Dipstick urinalysis; and
  • Risk assessment and initial counseling regarding risks.

For women only:

  • Prenatal and post-partum care;
  • Prenatal services;
  • Clinical breast examination;
  • Referral for mammography; and
  • Thyroid function test.

Planned Parenthood on the other hand, lists in its most recent report only the following categories for services it offers: STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, other women’s health services, abortion and other services.

Its services are quite limited—services which are already being offered by FQHCs and RHCs, excepting abortion.

Congress and states must defund Planned Parenthood and the money be made available to these other health clinics which are much more comprehensive in their health care offerings than Planned Parenthood.  Women, families and children deserve better health care than what Planned Parenthood offers.