Millions of federal dollars were awarded to 31 family planning facilities across the country.
Over $16 million in federal grant money was awarded across 31 organizations to improve telehealth access and infrastructure, primarily related to family planning services.
Available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, $16.3 million was awarded specifically to expand telehealth that supports Title X, a law that works to promote equitable access to health care and family planning clinics nationwide.
“Expanding telehealth at our nation’s Title X family planning clinics will help ensure all women and families have equitable access to this essential care,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Across the nation we are seeing attacks on sexual and reproductive health care services, and through these funds and other HHS efforts we can ensure that we’re able to provide this care that so many across the country need.”
The grant money was part of the American Rescue Plan, a law passed amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and aims to continue telehealth service expansion as demand rises.
“As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, family planning clinics had already augmented the use of telehealth,” said Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary at HHS. “These awards will help programs accelerate telehealth even more across the communities receiving awards.”
The largest sum of funding dispersed among recipients was $700,000. Beneficiaries of this amount include Essential Access Health in California, The Family Health Centers of Georgia, Inc., the New Mexico Department of Health, the New Jersey Family Planning League, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, among others.
This additional federal funding comes as the U.S. Supreme Court stands ready to potentially reverse its decision on the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Such a reversal would threaten access to abortions provided by many family planning facilities.
Notably, branches of the prominent family planning organization Planned Parenthood were among the main beneficiaries of HHS’s new round of grant funding. Beyond abortion, family planning clinics provide services such as contraception access, cancer screening and testing for sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
“This opportunity to sustain investments in telehealth for the Title X program helps open the door to high-quality family planning services for even more clients,” said Jessica Swafford Marcella, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs.