Whitmarsh STD clinic to close
How’s this for bad timing-right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is surveying Rhode Island to see why we’ve seen an increase in sexually transmitted diseases among gay and bi men. At the same time, the Providence Community Health Centers’ only STD clinic is closing its doors.
Why? The Department of Health won’t be funding the clinic anymore. “Without the money, we can’t run the clinic,” says Loretta Tharp with the Providence Community Health Centers.
Loretta Tharp says patients at the clinic will have to go to their primary care doctors for STD help in the future. If they don’t have a primary care doctor, the health centers will help them find one.
She says the Whitmarsh Clinic employed one receptionist and two nurse practitioners. They will lose their jobs when the clinic closes at the end of the month, although the receptionist is applying for another job at the community health centers.
The Health Department’s spokesman Peter Hanney says it was a tough decision, but DOH had to cut money from its budget somewhere. Health officials decided that defunding Whitmarsh “would have the least affect on the community at large.”
The Department of Health will hold a community meeting in its auditorium on Tuesday, June 28th at 8:30am to figure out a game plan for STD prevention after the clinic closes.