October 18, 2021

Family planning center to open in Cortland

Will replace the Jacobus Center

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Paula Currie, director of medical services at Family & Children’s Counseling Services in Cortland, shows a patient room Wednesday. A new family planning center will open there in January.

Before its closure in 2020, the Jacobus Center for Reproductive Health in Cortland helped prevent teen pregnancy through its programs, Lisa Hoeschele, a former project director with the center, said Wednesday.

Hoeschele, now the CEO of Family & Children’s Counseling Services, said the opening of a new family planning center within her organization will continue the Jacobus Center’s work on teen pregnancy prevention, along with other health services.

Family & Children’s Counseling Services is working with Family Planning of South Central New York to open a new center inside Family & Children’s Counseling Services’ building on Main Street, Family Planning of South Central New York announced.

“We look forward to creating programming that meets teens at where they’re at today,” which was different than when Hoeschele worked at the center, she said.

The center, to open in January, will offer both urgent and non-urgent gynecological and reproductive health care services, including birth control, annual exams, urinary tract infect testing and treatment, cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.

The Jacobus Center provided services at no cost to the patient. While it billed insurance, when possible, it relied on grants to fill the gap. It did not tap the county’s property tax levy for its operations. Details on how the new clinic will be funded were unavailable.

“With Family & Children’s Counseling Services providing affordable, accessible outpatient behavioral health care and prevention services — as well as a one-day-a-week primary care clinic — at their Main Street facility, it was just a natural fit for us to collaborate and co-locate as providers,” said Debra Marcus, Family Planning’s CEO, in a news release.

Hoeschele said the site will welcome anyone but hopes it will fill the teens and people who identify as LGBT, the latter of whom sometimes hesitate to see a primary care physician for reproductive health issues.

“We are hoping this will fill a gap, that they can feel like they’re welcome and they can get the services that they need,” she said.

When the Jacobus Center closed last year, a lot of attention was raised on where people would go for reproductive health services, Hoeschele said.

She said Family & Children’s Counseling Services was looking into providing these services themselves but after Marcus broached the subject, decided to partner to make the center happen more quickly.

While Family & Children’s Counseling Services will provide the space, Family Planning of South Central New York will offer the services.

Hoescehele, though, said the closure of the Jacobus Center, which was operated by the Cortland
County Health Department, was another example of the shift in America from people relying on governmental services to having to get those same services at non-profit organizations.

“That’s a uniquely American concept,” she said.