Advertisement

Publicly funded family planning organizations’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas

  • Klaira Lerma
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Klaira Lerma, Population Research Center and Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd Street, Stop G1800, Austin, TX, 78712, Telephone: 1-608-408-6858;
    Affiliations
    Population Research Center and Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St, Stop G1800, Austin, TX, 78712
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    # Emma Carpenter and Anna Chatillon both contributed equally to this work.
    Emma Carpenter
    Footnotes
    # Emma Carpenter and Anna Chatillon both contributed equally to this work.
    Affiliations
    Population Research Center and Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St, Stop G1800, Austin, TX, 78712
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    # Emma Carpenter and Anna Chatillon both contributed equally to this work.
    Anna Chatillon
    Footnotes
    # Emma Carpenter and Anna Chatillon both contributed equally to this work.
    Affiliations
    Population Research Center and Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St, Stop G1800, Austin, TX, 78712
    Search for articles by this author
  • Kari White
    Affiliations
    Population Research Center and Texas Policy Evaluation Project, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St, Stop G1800, Austin, TX, 78712

    Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin, 1925 San Jacinto Blvd, Stop D3500, Austin, TX, 78712

    Department of Sociology, The University of Texas at Austin, 305 E. 23rd St, Austin, TX, 78712
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    # Emma Carpenter and Anna Chatillon both contributed equally to this work.
Published:November 15, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2022.11.003
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.

      Abstract

      Introduction

      Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, use of family planning services decreased, but there are limited data on how safety net providers were affected.

      Methods

      Between November 2020 and March 2021, we conducted in-depth interviews with administrators at health departments, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and specialized family planning organizations across Texas about pandemic-related changes in family planning services. We analyzed interview transcripts using an inductive thematic approach.

      Results

      Administrators at the 19 participating organizations described pervasive service disruptions. Some organizations closed for 6-8 weeks at the pandemic’s onset due to safety uncertainties and difficulty interpreting Texas’ March 2020 executive order prohibiting “non-essential” medical services; others later suspended services following staff exposures. Health departments and FQHCs commonly reduced family planning services to focus on COVID-19 response, leaving specialized family planning organizations to absorb displaced reproductive healthcare clients. Some of the advantages of service delivery modifications — including telehealth, curbside and drive-through prescription pickup, and medication-by-mail — were difficult to realize; barriers included low reimbursement, necessary patient exams, and clients’ confidentiality concerns and lack of technological resources.

      Conclusions

      Texas’ diverse network of family planning organizations illustrated a range of responses to the pandemic, and organizations often focused on their core missions—public health, primary care, or family planning.

      Keywords