DALLAS (AP) — Few Dallas-area doctors listed in the new Texas Women's Health Program's online database knew they were listed as participants in the program or were accepting new patients, a newspaper reported.
The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/WAJcKO ) reported that it surveyed the 336 Dallas-area contacts listed online for the program, and found that only 15 percent of the 55 unrepeated physicians and offices listed knew they were part of the program or were taking new patients. Eight of the listings were for doctors who weren't accepting new patients, and two listings pointed to businesses with no connection to the program — a sports medicine clinic and another was a title company.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which controls the program, is aware of the problems, a commission spokeswoman said.
"It's not that it's a list that they (the public) shouldn't be using, it's that there are addresses on that list that shouldn't be there. So we're going to have to do some work to clean the list up," spokeswoman Linda Edwards Gockel told the newspaper.
The list, which was posted online more than three months ago, isn't the same as the list of 3,500 approved providers cited by state officials reorganizing the Texas Women's Health Program, Gockel said. The error-plagued list represents locations from which a potential provider billed in the past, she said.
The commission hopes to have a correct list available by this week, Gockel said.
Federal revenue accounted for 90 percent of the funding for the program, which provides women's medical services to Medicaid clients. However, the program lost that federal funding after the end of 2012 when state officials barred Planned Parenthood from participation. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law in 2011 excluding from the program providers that support abortion rights, which almost exclusively affected Planned Parenthood.
Texas has long banned the use of state funds for abortion, but had continued to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for providing basic health care to poor women through the state's Women's Health Program. The program provides preventive care to 110,000 poor women a year, and Planned Parenthood clinics were treating 48,000 of them.
A judge has declined to compel the state to reinstate Planned Parenthood, saying the organization would unlikely win its court fight to get around a new law that disqualifies health clinics with any affiliation to abortion providers.
State District Judge Steve Yelenosky in Austin acknowledged that excluding Parent Parenthood would likely to impact women who depend on the program's free services, but he said the organization would likely to lose if its lawsuit went to trial.
Yelenosky previously sided with Planned Parenthood in November, but the legal equation changed when federal funding stopped on Jan. 1. Federal officials severed ties with the program because of the new rules, saying it was illegal to deny a woman the right to choose her own doctor.
Texas Women's Health Program: http://www.texaswomenshealth.org
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com