Planned Parenthood is sharing new information of the merger of groups in Austin, Waco and North Texas. As KERA’s Courtney Collins explains, Planned Parenthood expects to come out even stronger.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas will officially debut in September. Instead of regional clinics, the group will coordinate 26 healthcare centers from Denton to Austin and Waco to Corsicana and Tyler. President and CEO Ken Lambrecht says the plan isn’t to close clinics, but to expand.
Lambrecht: “We’re doing population analytics to determine where we need to be, where our patients are and how we can best serve them. So right now we don’t have an optimal number of health centers in mind, but we will be continuing on a five year plan to invest in the community.”
Lambrecht says women’s health services, like birth control, mammograms and cervical cancer screenings will not be cut. And he says while budget cuts at the state level have been difficult to work around, Planned Parenthood has no designs to raise costs at the clinic.
Lambrecht: “We know we can work smarter and better together and we don’t anticipate any fee changes.”
Lambrecht says cutting administrative costs will make the agency stronger.
Lambrecht: “How we’ll save money is through one CEO instead of three, through one Chief Financial Officer, through one billing office and consolidating some of our back office functions.” “It has been an incredibly challenging year and I always say with challenges come incredible opportunities, such as this merger. We will come out of this stronger, we are all financially healthy, none of us have any debt, and we have incredible individual philanthropic support across the region.”
Planned Parenthood has been in Texas since the 1930s and Lambrecht says despite funding cuts and uncertainty, this merger will guarantee more of the same.