A federal agency awarded more than $250 million in grants to support family planning services Thursday.
Missouri Family Health Council Inc., serving 65 clinics statewide, continues to be the sole Missouri grantee to receive grants for the public health program (Title X). The council received $5.3 million.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $256.5 million in grants aimed at supporting Title X family planning clinics. The clinics provide breast and cervical cancer screening, contraceptive counseling and care, and sexually transmitted disease/HIV testing and treatment to low-income or uninsured individuals, according to a DHHS news release.
"Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services," the release states. "The program supports a diverse network of clinics including state and local health departments, federally qualified health centers, hospital-based sites, and other private nonprofit and community-based health centers."
Missouri Family Health Council -- based in Jefferson City -- has administered Title X for 40 years, said Michelle Trupiano, the council's executive director. The council's Title X network includes 16 sub-recipients, operating 65 clinics. The network includes local health departments, federally qualified health centers, community action agencies, hospital-based clinics and two Planned Parenthood affiliates.
"Our network of providers are committed to the delivery of inclusive trauma-informed and culturally sensitive care that meets the needs of all Missourians," Trupiano said.
The council subcontracts for a variety of services, Trupiano told the News Tribune on Thursday. It serves urban and rural areas throughout the state.
"Title X has been around for 50 years," she said. "It's a vital public health program that seeks to empower folks -- give them control over becoming pregnant."
Staff at the council are proud it continues its role in public health, despite the state filing for the grants against it each of the past three grant cycles.
"The state has been applying for the funds so they can limit some providers from receiving them," Trupiano said. "They would seek to eliminate Planned Parenthood from being a provider in the program."
The newspaper reached out to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to ask about the statement, but had not received a response at press time.
The council's network of providers offers different services in multiple locations statewide, where folks can access services in a timely manner, Trupiano said.
The council does not directly serve any clinics in Cole County, in part because the funding has been flat for years.
Trupiano said she thinks some clinics in the area would show interest, if funding were to expand.