Peninsula residents left in lurch with Planned Parenthood clinic’s closure 

Many county residents have been forced to travel to seek health care since the sudden closure of a former Planned Parenthood clinic in San Mateo last month.

Golden Gate Community Health, formerly Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, closed the door on its clinics in San Mateo, San Francisco and in Marin and Alameda Counties on Feb. 28. The organization lost its affiliation with the national Planned Parenthood organization in September due to financial issues.

Since that time, clinics in neighboring counties have reported a surge in calls as patients scramble for other providers. The closest Planned Parenthood clinics are in San Francisco to the north and in Sunnyvale and Mountain View to the south.

San Francisco’s Planned Parenthood center, which was opened two months ago by another affiliate, reported about 360 calls the week of Feb. 21. A week after the closures, the number of calls spiked to 937.

“All phones have been pretty, pretty busy,” said Adrienne Verrilli, spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific chapter. “We’ve been trying to fit in as many people as we can. We want people to get the health care they need.”

“It’s sad,” Verrilli added. “People need health care in this city and in the Bay Area.”

Planned Parenthood’s Mar Monte affiliate in San Jose will be taking over clinical operations in both San Mateo and Alameda counties, but will not be reopening the San Mateo clinic, Mar Monte spokeswoman Lupe Rodriguez said.

Instead, the organization has proposed a site along El Camino Real in Redwood City. Mar Monte officials are now in the application process and are awaiting a permit from the city’s zoning administrator, Rodriguez said.

With their application still being considered, there is no set date on when the center will open. Rodriguez did confirm that if all goes well, the center will open before the end of the year.

Once Mar Monte’s zoning permit is approved, the organization will still only provide limited 19-hour-a-week service via a medical van at the proposed location on El Camino. Mar Monte is also in the final stages of cementing a partnership with Skyline College in San Bruno that will provide limited services in pregnancy and STI testing and HIV prevention, Rodriguez said.

Mar Monte is also in the process of identifying other county areas that are “underserved” and in “high need” of Planned Parenthood services, Rodriguez said.

Residents seeking basic primary reproductive health care can find the center closest to them by visiting Planned Parenthood’s website at www.plannedparenthood.org.

Reproductive health care

To find the Planned Parenthood facility closest to you, visit www.plannedparenthood.org or call (650) 758-6040 or (650) 216-9552.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte:
- Formed in the 1990s
- Largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the U.S.
- Served more than 240,000 people in 2010
- 33 health center locations in 42 counties
- Conducted more than 41,000 patient visits in the lower Peninsula region at health centers in Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Foothill College in 2010

Source: Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

aterrazas@sfexaminer.com

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