Planned Parenthood: Sexual Health Care Via Telehealth To Be Available in All 50 States
Organization Announces Telehealth Expansion and New Digital Resources in the Age of COVID-19
NEW YORK, NY — Today, Planned Parenthood announced a national expansion of telehealth services to provide health care by phone or video to patients in all 50 states by the end of April. Planned Parenthood knows that even during a pandemic, sexual and reproductive health services can’t wait — they are time-sensitive and essential. Through telehealth, patients can access timely care and information from Planned Parenthood’s trusted providers with fewer visits or without the need to visit a health center at all.
While many things are different right now, you can still have a safe, healthy sex life. Planned Parenthood also has new digital resources available with information on the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, and how it can affect sexual and reproductive health.
Planned Parenthood’s new webpages provide medically accurate answers to questions like “Can I still have sex?” and “What do I do if my birth control method is about to expire?” and “Can I still get an abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
Planned Parenthood has added new information to Roo, our sexual health chatbot, and to our popular Chat/Text program to help people understand how COVID-19 affects their sexual health and how to access health care during the pandemic.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president, and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Sexual health needs don’t go away, even when our country is in crisis. Planned Parenthood is proud to redouble our efforts to make sure people can still access the care and information they need. We know this pandemic has increased barriers to health care for many of the communities we serve — at exactly the time when people need that care the most. Through telehealth, Planned Parenthood is providing the high-quality care and information people need to stay safe and healthy, even as our everyday reality is rapidly changing. Challenging times require us to innovate and expand the tools that connect our expert, compassionate providers with patients who need care. No matter how you meet Planned Parenthood — in our health centers, online, or on your phone — we’re here with you.”
Telehealth appointments, where a patient connects with a provider in a different location using technology, are a secure and private way for people to access health care services without the need to travel. While telehealth services vary health center to health center, patients can access direct-to-patient services including birth control, sexually-transmitted infection (STI) testing and/or treatment, gender-affirming hormone therapy, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), UTI screening and treatment, and emergency contraception (also known as the morning-after pill). Some Planned Parenthood health centers also offer counseling and follow-up for abortions through telehealth.
Statement from Dr. Meera Shah, chief medical officer, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, and national medical spokesperson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “As a provider, I’m committed to finding new ways to reach my patients with the essential care they need — wherever they are. Planned Parenthood health centers see firsthand how telehealth helps patients overcome barriers to timely sexual and reproductive health services, especially right now when in-person visits may not be the best option. For patients who do not require an in-person visit, telehealth helps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and contributes to community social distancing efforts.”
Dr. Raegan McDonald Mosley, chief medical officer, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Inc.: “Amid the pandemic, Black and Latinx people are facing significant economic hardship as they are more likely to be low-wage essential workers, least likely to be able to telecommute, and are contracting the virus at higher rates. These same communities are also in dire need of access to sexual and reproductive health care and information without further endangering their health. Planned Parenthood providers are proud to offer telehealth services so that we can continue to provide health care to the patients who rely on us the most — including people of color, people with low-incomes, LGBTQ people, and immigrant communities.”
Statement from Dr. Krishna Upadhya, senior medical advisor, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “People don’t stop having sex during a public health crisis. They still need access to sexual and reproductive health care. In fact, in a time of crisis, research shows they may need these services even more. As the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, you can trust Planned Parenthood for answers to your pressing questions about your sexual health and access to the care you need — even during a pandemic.”
For up-to-date information on telehealth services available at your local Planned Parenthood health center and to make an appointment, visit plannedparenthood.org/telehealth.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.