Reproductive Health

Planned Parenthood Clinic Adapts to Leaner Budget

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinics lost 10 percent of their budget in a single stroke of the governor's pen. Now a clinic supervisor talks about heavier work load, streamlined procedures and some lost clients.

HACKENSACK, N.J. (WOMENSENEWS)--It seemed like business as usual last week at the local affiliate of Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey.

Two young women sat together in the dusty rose color waiting room watching news about the impending Hurricane Irene on the TV monitor.

Behind the glass, women clad in pastel-colored scrubs swiveled around in chairs, quickly navigating between shelves lined with color-coded medical folders.

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But life for Cindy Raske, the registered nurse who started off as health director of the nearby Englewood Center, is a lot different from a year ago.

In January, in the wake of state budget cuts, Raske's counterpart in this Hackensack clinic--a 15-minute bus ride from the Englewood Center--was laid off and Raske was put in charge of supervising both locations.

Like many patients and employees, Raske now floats back and forth between the two health centers.

When asked about how things are going since the loss of state funding, Raske wearily shook her head of dark curly hair. "I can't tell you exactly how many patients we've lost but we have lost some," she said.

In March 2010, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie eliminated the federal budget line of $1.2 million for family planning, which was seen as a direct attack on Planned Parenthood, one of the biggest family planning providers in the state.

The governor's action struck 10 percent from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Greater Northern New Jersey's overall budget and 25 percent from the medical budget at the Englewood and Hackensack clinics, Raske said.

Each week the combined operations of the two clinics have been cut by about 27 hours. In the wake of some layoffs, people who remain employed must work longer and harder, added Raske.

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