By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian
Ever since the Marion County Health Department moved back to its former location at 300 Second St. in July after workers spent half a year renovating the space, the number of people using the facility’s family planning services has gone down.
However, said Donna Riffle, director of nursing at the health department, “Family planning is probably one of the most common services that people identify with the health department and it’s been an ongoing program for years.”
In fact, the program is funded by Title X, which was enacted in 1970 during the administration of President Richard Nixon, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website (www.hhs.gov).
“It’s been around for years and it’s confidential,” Riffle added. “If my husband calls and says, ‘Donna has an appointment,’ we don’t accept that. The person has to call. We do deal with younger girls.”
In fact, starting at the age of 13, females who qualify under income guidelines can begin to use the services of the family planning program at the Marion County Health Department.
“We can see girls as young as 13 and all the way up through as long as they need a method of birth control,” Riffle said. “And once a woman has had a tubal (ligation) or she has gone through menopause or had a hysterectomy, then we send them to our (state) Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (www.wvdhhr.org/bccsp/). But as long as they need a method of birth control, they can come and see us.”