BELLEFONTE — Yellow signs on the glass doors of the office on Match Factory Place delivered the news.
“We are closing our doors as of June 30, 2014.”
And with that, the Tapestry of Health said goodbye to its clientele of people seeking family planning, sexual health and women’s health services in Centre and Huntingdon counties.
“It was a budgetary decision,” site manager Amy Bolinsky said.
The Bellefonte and Huntingdon offices offered some free contraception to men and women. Other options, like birth control pills, implants, intrauterine devices, injections, diaphragms and more, were available on a sliding scale, through insurance or, for those who qualified, with the help of government-aided insurance plans, such as Select Plan for Women.
Other services included testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, testing and referrals for HIV, and a wide range of women’s health services, such as cancer screenings and pelvic exams, as well as community health education.
Unfortunately, officials said, the demand for services was outstripping the organization’s ability to provide it.
“Even with new health care reforms, there are too many uninsured individuals,” Bolinsky said.
The decision was made in late May, she said. Patients and staff were informed then. Monday was the last day that the office was actively seeing patients, although one of the six employees who staffed the two offices will be on site for a while as they oversee the release of records and transfer of patient information to new providers.
“We are referring to other family-planning providers,” Bolinsky said.
The closing came as a surprise to other organizations that help women.
“It is a loss since we did refer folks there,” said Anne Ard, executive director of the Centre County Women’s Resource Center.
“Inexpensive health care for women is difficult to come by. But with all the changes in health care and the Affordable Care Act, I’m not sure anyone knows what’s next.”
Few other options are available for local women.
Penn State students and spouses can make use of the University Health Services facilities, including sexual health and women’s health options.
Those who qualify for Select Plan for Women can use that service at other providers that accept the program.
Pregnancy Resource Clinic on South Pugh Street in State College does provide some services, such as pregnancy and STD testing.
Women in the western part of the county might travel to Adagio Health in Clearfield.
Those near Clinton County might visit Family Center for Reproductive Health in Williamsport.
In the Mifflin County area, services are provided through Family Planning Plus in Lewistown.
Parent organization Family Health Councils of Central Pennsylvania still operates Tapestry in three other areas: Columbia/Mountour, Somerset and Cumblerland/Perry, although in those offices, they focus on women and children’s health with WIC and nutrition services.
“We won’t give up the good fight,” Bolinsky said. “These services are too important.”
Lori Falce can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.