Indiana Planned Parenthood to drop Medicaid patients

INDIANAPOLIS Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:47pm EDT

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INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Planned Parenthood of Indiana will stop seeing Medicaid patients after Monday because of an Indiana law that cut the provider's funding.

PPIN went to court last month to prevent Indiana from cutting funding to the state's largest reproductive health care provider. U. S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she would make a decision on whether to enjoin the law by July 1.

"Our 9,300 Medicaid patients, including those who had appointments Tuesday, are going to see their care disrupted," Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPIN, said in a statement.

The Medicaid funds stopped May 11, the day Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law that restricts abortions and cuts federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions, but even before the Indiana law passed, federal money could not be used to pay for abortions. Indiana cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood that covers other reproductive health services, including contraception and cancer screening.

After Monday, PPIN said it will have run out of the donations it used to pay for existing Medicaid patients after the bill made national news.

Medicaid patients won't be seen starting Tuesday unless they can pay, two disease intervention specialists will be laid off, and most employees around the state will be taking a day off without pay on Wednesday, according to a statement from

PPIN.

If the judge doesn't make a favorable ruling by July 1, PPIN said it will start closing health centers and reducing staff.

The state has until June 24 to respond to a brief filed last Friday by the federal government that sides with PPIN.

The state is working on its response and will meet its deadline, according to the attorney general's office.

"The case was fully briefed until the U. S. government late Thursday filed its statement of interest, thus necessitating a thorough and thoughtful response from the state," said Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the Indiana Attorney General's office.

North Carolina and Kansas have also restricted funding to Planned Parenthood, but their actions do not affect payments from the federal Medicaid program. Indiana blocks both state and federal payments.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Jerry Norton)

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