We just sent out the following press release regarding a new report from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission on the state’s family planning programs. The report leaves out answers to too many questions, including why the state is still funneling taxpayer dollars to an incompetent, anti-abortion contractor.
TFN PRESIDENT: TEXAS HHSC HAS PUT ANTI-ABORTION POLITICS AHEAD OF WOMEN’S HEALTH
Texas HHSC Report on Family Planning Programs Leaves Out a Lot
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2018
AUSTIN – A report Thursday from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission leaves too many unanswered questions regarding the performance of the state’s family planning programs, especially regarding the quality and competence of providers, Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller said today.
Because HHSC has now changed the methodology for counting clients, it’s impossible to compare service levels with 2010-11 – before the state made massive funding cuts and forced Planned Parenthood out of the Women’s Health Program. Moreover, the report does not address why one of the largest state contractors, the anti-abortion Heidi Group, continues to receive funding despite its outrageous failure to fulfill its contracted obligations last year.
“It seems clear that women’s health is still not a priority for state officials,” Miller said. “In fact, the state continues to fund a major contractor that failed to come even close to serving the wildly inflated number of women it promised to help access reproductive health care services last year. The decision to renew contracts for the Heidi Group for two more years rewards incompetence at the expense of taxpayers and, more importantly, the health of Texas women. The tragic fact is the state has made it harder for Texans to get the care they need from the providers they choose because cynical legislators and policymakers have made anti-abortion politics, not women’s health, their priority.”
HHSC at the end of August 2017 renewed contracts with the Heidi Group to facilitate reproductive health care services for low-income women under two programs: Healthy Texas Women (HTW) and Family Planning Program (FPP). The HTW renewal pays the group more than $1.6 million in each of fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The FPP renewal pays the group $5.1 million each in fiscal year.
But the renewals were executed the same month that HHSC slashed more than $4 million from the original $5.1-million FPP contract with the Heidi Group for fiscal year 2017 because that contractor served just a fraction of the thousands of women it had promised. In fact, an investigation by Campaign for Accountability last year, relying on thousands of pages of state records, revealed an appalling record of mismanagement and neglect by the Heidi Group. CfA found the Heidi Group provided almost no work for its original $5.1 million FPP contract or its original $1.6 million HTW contract.
The state initiated the Family Planning Program and Healthy Texas Women after lawmakers eliminated state funding for non-abortion health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. Eliminating funding for those Planned Parenthood services led to a significant decrease in women’s access to state health programs.
“Lawmakers promised low-income women wouldn’t be hurt in their war on Planned Parenthood,” Miller said. “But that was yet another lie used to justify anti-abortion laws and undermine women’s health care programs.”
The Texas Freedom Network (tfn.org) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom and individual liberties, including access to abortion and other reproductive health care.