The federal government is demanding answers of Kansas state as to how it plans to re-distribute the family planning funds of which it had recently deprived health care provider, Planned Parenthood. The federal family planning funds are also known as Title X funds.
Kansas state had earlier decided to keep out Planned Parenthood from the federal government's $3 million fund. The health provider is suing the state as it says it is being punished of advocating abortion rights.
AdvertisementKansas, meanwhile, is also is being squeezed by the federal government, which wants people to have access to family planning services in the state.
If Kansas can't satisfy the government's concerns, it will be at risk of losing all or part of nearly $3 million in family planning funds.
On July 7, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wrote to the state, saying it was worried about how Kansas planned to redistribute the money.
At issue is a provision in the state budget that in effect took about $330,000 from Planned Parenthood and redirected it primarily to public health departments.
Planned Parenthood already has persuaded a judge to block the law temporarily, although the state has appealed. The state also separately filed a motion seeking an immediate suspension of the judge's order pending the appeal of his decision.
But even as the litigation is playing out, the federal government is demanding answers.
Jose Belardo, regional health administrator for Health and Human Services, wants the state to provide evidence that the new agencies could adequately fill the void left by Planned Parenthood, which now sends the federal planning money to Wichita and Hays, Kan.
If Health and Human Services can document that Kansas or any recipient of the funds, for that matter isn't meeting the terms of its federal grant, then funding could be cut off, officials said. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it isn't worried and that the program is being administered according to the requirements set by law.
Planned Parenthood has used the family planning funds to serve about 5,700 people who make about 8,000 visits a year to clinics in Wichita and Hays. The money pays for family planning services for low-income women. It also helps pay for cancer screenings.
Planned Parenthood has indicated in court filings that it might have to raise the fees it charges, lay off employees or close its outstate clinics if it loses the money.