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Planned Parenthood Opens West Oakland Clinic

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CB Smith-Dahl / Oakland Local

Donna McNichol shows off an exam table accessible to persons with disabilities.

After two years of planning and permits, Mar Monte Planned Parenthood has just opened a new clinic in West Oakland.

The office is located on Seventh Street, just across from the Post Office, and features four exam rooms - including an ADA compliant exam table - two counseling rooms and an on-site lab. The only other business in the building is a Chinese restaurant.

"Some of the people come in and they have tears in their eyes, they're so grateful we're here," Center Manager Donna McNichol said during a tour of the facility. "It's good."

Oakland's two Planned Parenthood clinics were closed back in 2011 due to a series of financial missteps by Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (which eventually became Golden Gate Health and then dissolved into Chapter 7 bankruptcy). Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is not and was not associated with Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

Over the past couple of years, Mar Monte staff met with community partners to ask what Oakland needed from Planned Parenthood. According to McNichol, health care providers and community members expressed satisfaction with Oakland's Federally Qualified Health Centers - places like the West Oakland Health Center, Asian Health Services and Clinica De La Raza. But they consistently expressed a need for more reproductive health services, throughout the city.

Mar Monte has been providing some of those services through partnerships with the Alameda County Women, Infants and Children program office at Eastmont Mall and HEPPAC's office on Foothill Boulevard. Mar Monte nurses and clinicians rotate between these sites and the Planned Parenthood office that the agency runs in Hayward. The original intent was to open an office in the Fruitvale area first, but this property opened up instead. When staff realized how close it was to BART, they decided to start here.

This new Planned Parenthood clinic provides a variety of services, including pregnancy testing and services, STD testing (including rapid HIV tests), STD treatment and vaccines, birth control, emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) and abortion referral. Abortions will not be conducted at this location, but a variety of men and women's basic health care also will be available including colon cancer and cervical cancer screenings.

"I can't believe how many men have come in," McNichol said. "Something like a quarter to a third of the patients so far have been men."

There are no insurance or income requirements to access services at Planned Parenthood. The clinic accepts Medi-Cal, Family PACT and many forms of private insurance. If an individual is uninsured or does not qualify for Family PACT or Medi-Cal, then the clinic offers sliding scale fees for services. Services at the location will expand based on community need and additional permitting as it is secured.

West Oakland Planned Parenthood
Hours: 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Details: Walk-in appointments are available. Patients also can call (510) 300-3800 to make an appointment.

Source: Oakland Local [http://m.oaklandlocal.com/article/planned-parenthood-returns-oakland-after-two-year-absence]

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