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Oak Harbor’s Planned Parenthood to close
After 26 years of service, Whidbey Island’s only Planned Parenthood clinic will close Dec. 31.
The clinic is located at 3159 N. Goldie Road in Oak Harbor. Clinics in Forks and Silverdale will also close as the organization copes with state and federal funding losses.
“It’s been a really hard economy and we have lost funding and it used to be our larger facilities could help to subsidize our smaller locations, of which Oak Harbor is one of those,” said Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest spokesperson Kristen Glundberg.
The Oak Harbor closure will impact 1,071 patients who will be referred to Planned Parenthood health centers in Mount Vernon, Marysville, Everett and Lynnwood.
“We’re working with those patients to transition their care,” Glundberg said.
“We had to take a really long, hard look throughout our systems,” Glundberg said, adding that they looked at where a closure would have the least impact based on the number of patients and if there are other Planned Parenthood or women’s reproductive health clinics located nearby.
“We hung in there for a long time and financially, we just can’t sustain it,” Glundberg said. “It was a really difficult decision and like a lot of other businesses, we had to streamline. We feel bad that we had to close.”
Parenthood clinics across Washington state have suffered approximately $3.5 million in funding cuts over the last four years and revenue is uncertain, Glundberg said.
The additional loss of state and federal funding plus increased eligibility requirements for family planning programs contributed to the closures. Family planning program restrictions by the federal government in the last few years keep many patients from being seen at the clinics, meaning fewer patients for the clinic, Glundberg said.
Planned Parenthood is boosting their online services. The purpose of many visits to the clinic is to pick up contraceptives and a lot of that can be done online, Glundberg said. Planned Parenthood is also further developing its telemedicine services.
Planned Parenthood provides services including cancer screenings, birth control, well-woman exams, education programs, sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment and other family planning services.
There are no abortion clinics on Whidbey Island but Planned Parenthood does provide abortion referrals. All Oak Harbor patients seeking abortions are referred to the Everett Health Center.
Due to the closure, community health clinics will see an increase in their number of patients, Glundberg said.
“We are investigating the impact of Planned Parenthood’s closing and how that will affect women’s healthcare services here on Whidbey. Since we are still in the exploratory phase, it is too soon to comment,” said Trish Rose, public relations director for Whidbey General Hospital.
No one from the Planned Parenthood clinic could be reached by press time for comment.
Pregnancy Care Clinic, located at 670 SE Midway Blvd. in Oak Harbor and 503 Cascade Ave. in Langley, provides similar services, including pregnancy testing, limited ultrasounds, baby food, formula, diapers, clothing and classes. The clinic doesn’t provide abortion referrals but does offer post-abortion counseling.
For information call Planned Parenthood at 800-230-7526 or Pregnancy Care Clinic at 675-2096.