Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois

Since the mid-1930s, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (PP Heartland) has served women and men of all ages, offering a full range of quality reproductive health care services to residents in Nebraska, 92 Iowa counties and three counties in Illinois, with 24 medical centers and Education and Resource Centers (ERCs) located in Des Moines, Lincoln and Omaha. Over the last several years, PP Heartland has been formed through three successful mergers with Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa and Nebraska. PP Heartland, like so many NFPRHA members, plays many roles in its community, including health care provider, educator and advocate. As a Title X delegate, PP Heartland makes certain that quality family planning, reproductive health care and related preventive health services are available to their clients. In the last year alone, PP Heartland served nearly 73,000 women and men, more than half of whom were between the ages of 18-24 and/or had incomes at or below the federal poverty level.

PP Heartland employs 260 staff members spanning their three mission areas: health services, education and advocacy. The majority of family planning services are provided by registered nurses (RNs), who are certified as advanced practice nurses, and physicians assistants (PAs). Several physicians provide oversight and direct service in the areas of colposcopy, prenatal care, sexual assault exams, abortion care, LGBT care and primary care; all but one of these physicians work exclusively with the organization. In partnership with the Avalon Center, PP Heartland is also a leader in providing adoption services in Iowa.

The organization provides clinical rotations for colleges and universities across Iowa, and it is growing its involvement with colleges in Nebraska as well. The clinical rotations include Resident Physicians in OB/GYN and Family Practice; medical, nurse practitioner, PA, RN, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and medical assistant students; and other human services or education students seeking internships with the organization. Several PP Heartland staff members also serve as faculty at the Des Moines University Medical School; their classes cover health services including, but not limited to: family planning, abortion
and human sexuality. Longtime President and CEO Jill June said, “We are very proud of our association with the local universities, and believe that the relationship enriches not only the students’ experiences, but the staffs’ as well.”

PP Heartland started performing telemedicine abortion care in 2009, and has now made it available at 16 of its health centers. The telemedicine services at PP Heartland are configured through a private, secure, live, two-way video conferencing system. It utilizes a HIPAA-secure Polycom system that is only available from health center to health center and is much more advanced
and secure than an internet-based system.

The telemedicine program allows the clinician and client to meet face-to-face in the client’s own community, and has given Iowa’s women greater access to these important services. One of the primary barriers that women seeking abortion face when accessing services is transportation; the telemedicine service has eliminated this barrier. In the first two years of the program, PP Heartland has seen well over 2,000 patients. Ibis Reproductive Health, an independent science and social research organization, recently completed a study of the program; its findings are currently being published in scientific journals. “The telemedicine program allows patients to be seen in an efficient and timely manner. The patients and clinicians are big fans of the program,” said June.

PP Heartland’s ERCs offer age-appropriate and research-based programs in reproductive health, human development and sexuality education for youth and adults in a variety of settings. These programs focus on lifelong sexual health. Last year, there were more than 71,000 participants in this education programming, which includes: community education/training programs; teen theatre troupe performances/appearances; and health fairs.

For more than 20 years, hundreds of PP Heartland volunteers have organized an enormous book sale that is held at the Iowa Fairgrounds twice a year to raise money to support the organization’s sexuality education program. Annually, more than $500,000 is raised from event admission fees and the purchasing of books. Volunteers span generations of families and friends, and the book sale consistently brings in PP Heartland supporters from across Iowa and across the country.

Over the last several years, PP Heartland has developed a strategic plan for health center improvement and, in turn, created a capital campaign to build state-of-the-art health centers. “The goal is to have health centers that affirm the dignity and worth of every woman and man who comes into our centers,” said June. “We want to do everything we can to help position the patients to select PP Heartland as their best option for a provider. We want to be the right option for service, whether you have the ability to make a choice of where to go or not. The staff working in the centers, the community that supports the programs and, most importantly, the patients, all want to feel really proud. Whether you work, donate or are a consumer, it is vital to have pride in our health system for its quality of service.”

PP Heartland is a model health system, and many Planned Parenthood affiliates from across the country send their employees to PP Heartland for on-site visits and trainings; staff also often leads training webinars. June said, “This is part of the culture at PP Heartland—we are all learners and teachers; you can always give and share new ideas about what is or isn’t working, and ways to improve.”

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National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association

1025 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-293-3114  |  info@nfprha.org

© 2011 National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association