Planned Parenthood clinic in Traverse City, MI on Dec. 8, 2021 | Allison R. Donahue
Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) announced Thursday that its new virtual health center is open for use.
Previously, patients had to book telehealth services through a brick and mortar health center, but this new service creates a centralized online location for those all over the state to seek care.
Across Michigan, there are a number of health care deserts or other barriers that make it hard for a person to seek out health care, PPMI President Paula Thornton Greear told Michigan Advance Friday.
“When we talk about access, this expands that. It really does represent a really significant milestone in Planned Parenthood Michigan’s commitment to breaking down barriers to health access,” Greear said.
The constraints of working hours, access to transportation or child care can all create barriers that can cause individuals in need of services to neglect themselves, Greear said. Telehealth services aren’t just being offered in the name of convenience, they are often necessary to ensure residents have access.
Whether they’re located in the rural UP or Metro Detroit patients will be able to access birth control, emergency contraception, hormone therapy, gender affirming care and medication abortion through one simple, easy to navigate virtual health center, Greear said.
Last May PPMI began offering gender-affirming hormone therapy and since then over 1,200 patients have been seen for gender affirming care, Greear said.
“Patients in rural and remote communities … often have to travel hundreds of miles to reach an affirming and knowledgeable health care provider, ” Greear said. “But with the virtual health care center, trans, non-binary and gender diverse Michiganders from all corners of this great state can connect with physicians who specialize in that care.”
In the past two years, PPMI has seen a 50% growth in telehealth services, Greear said, with 15% of all appointments being virtual.
The virtual center is open for appointments from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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