Planned Parenthood adapts to COVID-19 with ‘innovative solutions’ to patient care

PPGNY's mobile health unit, Project Street Beat, which is helping people during COVID-19.
Courtesy of PPGNY

When COVID-19 took the country by storm, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York was ready and has adapted to the changes that came along with a global pandemic.

On April 1, it launched telehealth services and patients can now access a range of sexual and reproductive health services, including birth control, emergency contraception, trans and nonbinary hormone therapy, STI treatment and more by secure video conferencing and telephone.

PPGNY experienced a 60 percent increase in patient visits to PP Direct, Planned Parenthood’s health care app, in March.

“Even in uncertain times like this, we know that people’s sexual and reproductive health care can’t wait,” said Laura McQuade, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. Like everyone else in the nation, it is crucial that Planned Parenthood of Greater New York tackle challenges brought by the coronavirus with innovative solutions that protect and benefit our patients, staff, and communities.”

PPGNY’s mobile health unit, Project Street Beat, has been providing care in the south Bronx for more than 30 years. Street Beat is a comprehensive health center on wheels, offering a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, except surgical abortion. Providers also offer clean syringes and syringe disposal and Narcan and overdose prevention counseling on the mobile unit. It’s parked along 149th between Morris and Courtland Avenues every Monday.

PPGNY also advocates for Bronxites who face systemic racism, health inequities and economic injustices. It recently hosted a town hall about how mandate to wear a face mask is making black men choose between their health and their lives.

Jacquelyn Marrero, director media Relations for PPGNY, is a south Bronx resident who has seen firsthand the need for their resources at this time. She explained telehealth was always in their plans, but COVID-19 sped things up.

“I think it is so important for options to be available for people in the south Bronx,” Marrero said.

Tamika Howell is the vice president of PSB and Sarah Zuercher is director of health services. Howell told the Bronx Times more people are coming as patients because their regular physicians are closed.

“Young people want have a safe place to talk about reproduction,” Zuercher said. With COVID we need to rethink how we are offering that care. We had to make adjustments. We feel really happy that we continue to be there for people.”

New Yorkers can book a virtual appointment at www.ppgreaterny.org or call 1-800-230-PLAN.

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