Planned Parenthood to close its Middlebury clinic
MIDDLEBURY — Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has been in a period of unprecedented challenges since the 2016 election, through the defunding fight during the Trump Administration, the loss of Title X funding, the challenges of providing time-sensitive sexual and reproductive health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation-wide staffing shortages, and now the impending loss of Roe v Wade.
“To say these are difficult times is an understatement,” said PPNNE Vice President Lucy Leriche in a May 12 letter to legislators.
To make the organization sustainable and able to meet the needs of northern New England long-term, Planned Parenthood will closed five part-time health centers in Vermont and New Hampshire and over the next six months expand health center hours at seven health centers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
One of the Vermont PPNNE health centers marked for closure is one in Middlebury. The others are in Hyde Park, Saint Albans and Bennington, Vt., as well as Claremont, N.H. The centers will close on June 12.
The health centers that will expand hours to five days per week are in Barre, Brattleboro and Williston, Vt.; Exeter, N.H.; and Sanford, Biddeford and Topsham, Maine.
As PPNE entered its budgeting season and looked at the most recent financial impact of COVID variants in recent months, it was clear that the organization needed to make some tough decisions, Leriche wrote. The organization analyzed what delivery care model and health center footprint best enables it to care for the organization’s stability, and its ability to deliver on its mission, now and into the future.
“Providing high-quality, dependable care is at the heart of PPNNE’s mission,” Leriche wrote. “With the leaps and bounds our telehealth program has taken over the pandemic, it has created new accessibility to care across our three states. And by improving the number of days and hours of availability at our health centers, we can better meet our mission, care for our patients, and support our staff.”
She said PPNNE didn’t come to this decision easily, but that it believe these changes are necessary to meet this moment and the evolving needs of its patients, staff and communities, and to ensure PPNNE remains sustainable and able to meet its mission in the years to come.
“We will continue to provide care as best we can, and we will keep fighting to ensure our communities have the health care services, education, and access we need to control our bodies, our lives, and our future,” Leriche wrote.
PPNNE centers planning to close have a notification and referral plan in place to help patients maintain access to care. They planned to notify the public on May 13.
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