Whidbey’s only Planned Parenthood clinic to close in Oak Harbor
December 16, 2011 · 1:35 PM
Whidbey Island’s only Planned Parenthood clinic will close at the end of the year.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest will be closing its Oak Harbor health center located at 3159 N. Goldie Road, effective Dec. 31, the organization announced in a news release Friday.
The Oak Harbor closure will impact 1,071 patients who will be referred to Planned Parenthood health centers in Mount Vernon, Marysville, Everett or Lynnwood.
The closure is attributed to a general reduction and restructuring of the organization in which two other health centers will also be closed, in Silverdale and Forks. Additionally, PPGNW will be downsizing operations in Sitka, Alaska.
The decision to close these particular health centers was not made lightly, the news release states. Throughout this economic downturn, it was previously possible for PPGNW’s larger health centers to subsidize the smaller locations. Now, with additional loss of state and federal funding and increased eligibility requirements for family planning programs, fewer patients can access services.
“PPGNW is deeply saddened that federal family planning restrictions and inadequate state funding have contributed to the closure of these health centers. In this harsh economy, PPGNW can no longer sustain operations in Oak Harbor,” said Chris Charbonneau, CEO/president of PPGNW.
“Critically important in making this decision was ensuring that PPGNW patients could continue to receive needed health care services at a nearby Planned Parenthood health center.
“We don’t want any of our patients to fall through the cracks and we will work with them to transition their care -- in most cases to another Planned Parenthood,” said Charbonneau.
“Additionally, PPGNW is working diligently to expand our telemedicine and other online services to better serve patients in rural and more remote areas.”
Charbonneau said the organization “salutes the Oak Harbor staff who has worked tirelessly to provide our patients with essential health care like life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, well-woman exams, education programs, STD prevention and treatment, and other family planning services.”
He also expressed gratitude to all Whidbey Island donors and supporters who have stood by them throughout PPGNW’s many years on the island.
If you have questions or concerns, please call 1-800-230-PLAN.