Coronavirus Cutbacks: NY Planned Parenthood Closing Clinics, Staff Layoffs

A demonstrator stands outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, May 30, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions. - A US court weighed the fate of the last abortion clinic in Missouri on May 30, with the state hours away from becoming …
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Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is closing a dozen of its clinics and laying off staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

“All services will be virtual, except for abortion services and select in-person visits,” the organization states on its website.

Staffing is expected to be reduced by about 28 percent, states a report at the Times Union, either through permanent layoffs or furloughs and reduced staff hours:

In a statement to the Times Union, Planned Parenthood Greater New York spokeswoman Jacquelyn Marrero said a total of 135 staff members were laid off, 111 were furloughed and 35 were given reduced hours. Reductions were not specific to any one location and impacted all departments, she said. The goal, she said, is to bring back furloughed staff once the organization stabilizes.

The result of the closures will end surgical abortions in some areas, including Rome and Oneida in Central New York State.

“Our concern is that there was no effort to keep offices open, even one or two days per week, in those communities,” said an anonymous staff member, according to the report.

A letter from PPGNY President Laura McQuade to staff, obtained by the Times Union, said:

Despite our best effort, this pandemic has put an incredible strain on our resources, and unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, the financial effects of this crisis are significant … Sadly, these losses will be catastrophic for PPGNY if we do not take steps now to reduce the financial impact on our organization.

The report noted tension between PPGNY and 1199 SEIU that represents some of the staff, indicating the union had recommended some alternative cost-cutting proposals in order to avoid layoffs.

The union reportedly said the Planned Parenthood affiliate “decimated” whole departments and programs with its layoffs and furloughs.

“We have been repeatedly rebuffed in our attempts to save money in order to save our colleagues’ jobs,” the union’s bargaining committee wrote to PPGNY. “Your unwillingness to consider our cost-cutting proposals indicates that you are less concerned with the current economic realities associated with the coronavirus pandemic and more committed to eliminating staff.”

The abortion chain’s Greater New York affiliate formed in January, merging five Planned Parenthood affiliates.

On April 1, PPGNY announced it was launching a telehealth service to allow individuals access to birth control, emergency contraception, transgender hormones, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatments through video conferencing.

“Even in uncertain times like this, we know that people’s sexual and reproductive health care can’t wait,” McQuade said in a statement, adding:

Like everyone else in the nation, it is crucial that Planned Parenthood of Greater New York tackle challenges brought by the coronavirus with innovative solutions that protect and benefit our patients, staff, and communities.

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is continuing to show up for our communities by launching telehealth services and providing essential abortion care.

According to the Times Union, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood CEO Chelly Hegan said her organization has been struggling due to the cancellation of non-essential appointments and lower rates of insurance reimbursement for telehealth services.

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