LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The statewide Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kentucky and Indiana will merge next month in a move aimed at expanding reproductive health care services offered by the nonprofit organization in both states.
One goal following the July 1 merger will be to open more clinics in the Bluegrass state, Planned Parenthood executives said Monday.
“Our combined strength and depth is going to make us much better able to serve the needs of current clients in both Kentucky and Indiana, and to participate in meeting much of the unmet need that still exists,” said Kim Greene, who heads the Planned Parenthood of Kentucky board.
Greene said the needs for preventive care and early health screenings are acute in Kentucky, which has the nation’s second-highest cervical cancer death rate and the seventh-highest teen birth rate.
Planned Parenthood now has one clinic in Louisville and another in Lexington — the state’s two largest cities.
“Kentucky’s a big state and there are only two Planned Parenthood locations here at this point, and we’d sure like to change that,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana.
Cockrum, who will assume the same titles with the bi-state organization, said any additional clinics would likely be opened elsewhere in Kentucky.
Planned Parenthood has 26 health centers in Indiana but there are still unmet needs — especially in rural areas, she said.
“We absolutely have a focus on expansion in Indiana as well,” Cockrum said.
The merged group will look at offering a wider array of health services to care for more patients at its health centers in both states, the executives said. A majority of Planned Parenthood patients in both states have incomes below the poverty line.
The boards of both state Planned Parenthood affiliates have approved the merger.
The two statewide affiliates, which trace their roots to the 1930s, have a combined budget of $15.5 million and a workforce of 190 in their 28 health centers and administrative office. A handful of staff positions were consolidated as part of the pending merger.