Planned parenthood continues discounts for the fall
By Aurelia Acquati
Planned Parenthood is reaching out and welcoming more students and community members than ever. Until the end of the month, a variety of services are discounted 50 percent for anyone in need of testing or a health exam.
Candace Ryan-Schmid is Flagstaff’s Planned Parenthood’s central manager. She explained which services are discounted and what they entail.
“The services that are half off right now [are] the Hope, [in which] you have an appointment with a clinician,” Ryan-Schmid said. “You don’t have to have a pap smear, but you can get birth control. Right now, for new patients, it is $28– that’s half off– and for an established patient, someone who’s been here before, it’s $18. A full STI screen right now, which would include Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HIV is $50. A reproductive health [examination], which is a well woman examine with a pap smear, would start at $94. And the last thing of the promotion is free pregnancy tests.”
Ryan-Schmid understands that many students do not have the means to go to the doctor or spend a lot of money on tests. She wants those without insurance or lower income to be able to take care of their health at a reasonable cost.
“I’m excited about it because I know that [for] a lot of the student’s money is tight, so this definitely helps,” Ryan-Schmid said. “The point of this is to really allow people to be in control of their health and sexual health. Having these services discounted really allows for some with lower income or students to be able to take care of themselves, and be in charge of their health.”
Ryan-Schmid wants to see people come in, take advantage of these discounts and make their sexual health a priority. She hopes people will feel welcomed and comfortable when they do come in.
“The end result we want to see is really the people taking care of themselves and putting their health at a priority,” Ryan-Schmid said. “We are hoping [that] we will be a welcoming place for the students and the lower income population, so we can help answer questions and give them services at a nice price break.”
Beth Otterstein, a nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood, has been treating patients for almost 30 years. She said most patients come in for birth control and pregnancy tests, but she also does testing and counseling for patients.
“I see men and women of all [ages],” Otterstein said. “I do some lab work, I do examinations, I do a lot of testing and counseling [and] discussions with patients. I prescribe medications for infection and STDs and minor health problems; and I prescribe of course birth control pills and methods. I think that the number one [reason patients come in] is to get birth control to avoid pregnancy.”
Otterstein said she is aware of the stigma Planned Parenthood often has, but many people are just uncertain of what they actually do. Once patients come in they are usually satisfied with the treatment they receive.
“There is a stigma to Planned Parenthood, of course — we would be ridiculous denying that,” Otterstein said. “Some people [are] mistaken or are uncertain about what is going on in here; they hear stories about Planned Parenthood. I think they are mostly happy with the care they have gotten and [have] a better understanding, but it is scary.”
Patients do not need to be afraid of Planned Parenthood, according to Otterstein. They are there to educate people and be open with them, and give reasonable options for their health.
“We are friendly, we are open [and] we do a lot of education and explanation,” Otterstein said. “We try and give alternatives to make it more affordable or more accessible to people.”
According to a press release from Planned Parenthood, the summer specials are continued for the fall until Sept. 28.