KPCW | By Leslie Thatcher
Published July 11, 2022 at 3:33 PM MDT
The People’s Health Clinic is beefing up its women’s health offerings and has hired two new staff members dedicated to that responsibility.
Dr. Tania Bodnar has joined the People’s Health Clinic as its first Women’s Health Medical Director – a newly created position. Joining her will be nurse practitioner Elizabeth Jacobsen, a volunteer who will serve as the assistant medical director for women’s health.
CEO of the People’s Health Clinic Mairi (sounds like SORRY) Leining (LINING) says this commitment to women is in part due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade – a ruling that took away a woman’s federal right to an abortion – leaving it up to individual states to decide whether a woman can receive an abortion.
A fundraiser later this month, Walk and Wine, will support Bodnar’s salary. Leining says the fundraiser will also help raise the standard of women’s health care at the clinic for family planning services.
“It is to purchase birth control pills for our patients, as well as emergency contraception,” Leining said. “So, we can actually give our patients medications directly when they come to clinic. We also use the funding to get IUDs and implants; all forms of birth control, which, again, our patients are uninsured and the costs of birth control, it’s very expensive.”
She said there’s a big need for more health care for women. The number of requests for women’s health visits, she says have gone up by about 70% in the last year.
“In addition to that,” Leining said, “we have a lot of medically complicated patients and to have somebody with her [Dr. Bodar’s] level of training and years of experience is just really meaningful for improving the standard of care we can offer women in our town.”
More than 60 years after the approval of oral contraception, the Food and Drug Administration recently received its first application to supply a birth control pill over the counter without a prescription. The French company that filed the application, HRA Pharma, told the New York Times that the timing of the submission – just weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade is just a coincidence.
Leining says the clinic wants to make sure women have easy access to affordable birth control.
“It’s just really important to make sure community members around you who may not have health insurance or may not be eligible for government subsidies, know about People’s Health Clinic,” Leining said. [That they] know that we have free contraception available and counseling services. I just want to make sure that we’re able to give women the upper hand as much as possible during this time.”
Leining added that in the last year, the clinic has created a program for same-day contraception. What that means is even if the clinic can’t make an appointment for a full health exam for another month, anyone who is uninsured and needs birth control immediately can call the People’s Health Clinic, and Leining says they will get them in that day.