As if things in Texas aren't bad enough right now for women's health in Texas, it turns out the Texas Department of State Health Services left a couple million on the table that could have gone to several clinics that were forced to shutter their doors all across the state.
The Texas Observer reported last month that this was the case, before the transition of the Title X family planning dollars that are now going to a private non-profit, the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT).
This comes at a time when Texas is dead last when it comes to non-elderly women with health insurance (read: when they really need family planning care), according to Texas On The Brink, a report released each session by the Texas Legislative Study Group.
The Observer reports about one clinic in in Bell County that was forced to close, but can now reopen thanks to the new influx of money, although it's from a different source. Of course one clinic in San Saba County, was forced to close. According to the Texas Observer:
Hill Country Community Action, an agency responsible for six family-planning clinics in rural Central Texas, lost $394,000 annually as a result of the health department's funding cuts. Over a period of a few months, Tama Shaw, the agency director, closed her clinics one by one. In July 2012, Shaw admitted defeat and closed the last remaining family-planning clinic.
If the state health department did not need such a robust balance in it's budget, perhaps these clinics in rural Texas would still be open. Despite the money coming back, it is too late for Hill Country Community Action to reopen their clinics.
It remains to be seen if the these dollars will be managed more appropriately by the WHFPT, the Title X monies just came into their control last month. Hopefully they may do a better job of servicing the clinics than the State of Texas did, and not leave money to be spent while services are cut and clinics are closed.