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Governor Sandoval Signs SB 122

May 27, 2016                                                             
Contact:  Elisa Cafferata, Dir. Of Govt Relations, Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates (NAPPA)
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Governor Sandoval Signs SB 122 to Bring Community Health Nurses and Family Planning Services Back to Rural Nevada Women and Families

(Carson City) – Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 122, Senator Cancela’s bill to create a state grant program to bring community health nurses and family planning programs back to Nevada women and families. In 2016, Nevada lost $500,000 (over 70%) of its Title X family planning grant funds for rural Nevada. Seven of 13 rural health centers were completely defunded.  The need for community health nurses and family planning services in Nevada’s far flung communities is critical now.

A coalition of community health providers and advocates, including Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Nevada Public Health Association, the Nevada Primary Care Association, and Immunize Nevada came together to address the challenges women in Nevada face in accessing basic preventive health care. 

In 2001, Nevada was able to help 43% of the women who needed it to get publicly-supported family planning and women’s health care through Medicaid and Title X grants.  By 2014, only 10% of women in Nevada who needed it could get publicly funded family planning.  That same year, almost 175,000 Nevada women could not access safety-net health care.

Senator Yvanna Cancela, sponsor of SB 122 noted, “Nevada has a shortage of health care providers.  I wanted to make sure that the women who need it most could get birth control, STD testing and treatment, and preconception health care. I appreciate that the Governor recognizes the urgent need for these services and signed this important legislation.”

SB 122 creates a state grant program to provide family planning services to women and families in need of birth control, STD testing and treatment, and pre-conception counseling.

Elisa Cafferata, Director of Government Relations for Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood noted, “For many women family planning IS basic health care.  Low-income, disadvantaged and rural women in particular count on safety-net health centers for family planning which is often their only source of health care. This law is a great start to addressing the pressing needs Nevada families face.” 

Proponents of the bill cited public health benefits as well as the financial benefits to the state for investing in family planning. 

Chuck Duarte, President of the Board of Directors for the Nevada Primary Care Association, testified that “Investing in family planning makes good fiscal sense. A 2015 report estimates that 60 percent of publicly-funded births in Nevada are unintended. Each of these births costs taxpayers nearly $13,000 in the first five years of the child’s life. Using these estimates, it is projected that the state spends over $37 million on these births each year. Investing in family planning and reducing these unintended births lowers costs for Medicaid, making more resources available to invest in the health of children born to mothers who are ready to raise them.”

John Packham, Chair of the Advocacy and Policy Committee for the Nevada Public Health Association shared that “the research very clearly shows that family planning, including planning, delaying and spacing pregnancies, is linked to improved birth outcomes for moms and babies alike.  Most of these health centers also provide screening services for other health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.  When caught early, these conditions can be addressed and a patient’s health can be improved.”

SB122 proposes that Nevada create its own grant program to provide family planning and related preventive health services to individuals in need.  Services would include patient education; contraception and family planning services; sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention education, testing and referral.  SB 122 allows Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services to create a family planning grant program that is responsive to thw state’s specific needs.