Economic hardships cause some to give up health care
The number of women turning to the income-based services at Community Action Family Services is increasing, but as times get tougher, even more women should be coming through the doors, says the clinic's director.
"We're kind of a well-kept secret," said director Kathy Boersma. "I think if more women knew about us there would be even more here, especially now."
Boersma said she fears that with job loss high, many women are going without annual exams, mammograms and screenings.
"There may be some women who have been able to pay in the past and now can't," she said. "It's very important to at least get the baseline care."
The Wayne Street clinic offers the full spectrum of women's health services for women of all ages.
Nationwide, as the recession has stretched on, more and more people are choosing to not buy their prescriptions and skip checkups and medical procedures, according to the nonprofit Center for Studying Health System Change.
The dollars-versus-health dilemma has reached the household of 26-year-old mother of two, Christy, of Marietta, who asked that her last name not be used.
Christy said she makes sure her children visit the doctor regularly but she rarely makes it, even if she's sick.
"It's hard, but I just can't do it all, and I would rather my babies be taken care of," she said. "I'm definitely not going for exams or checkups or anything like that."
Those screenings, including breast and pelvic exams as well as mammograms, can reveal everything from a sexually transmitted disease to cancer, said Boersma.
The clinic can also help with contraception, she said.
"We have family planning services and provide birth control," she said. "At a pharmacy, that can cost $20 or $25 and we can provide it for $3 to $4 a cycle. That's significant."
All the billing at the clinic is based on income and family size and the income of some patients can qualify them for no-cost services, Boersma said. Most insurance is accepted as well as all three Medicaid Managed Care cards.
There are about 900 people served by the clinic now and they can accommodate more.
"We're here," said Boersma. "We can help."
Washington-Morgan Community Action Washington and Morgan Counties, Ohio
218 Putnam Street, Marietta, OH 45750 (740) 373-3745
50 W. Third Street, PO Box 398, Malta, OH 43758 (740) 962-3827