ITHACA, N.Y. –– Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (PPSFL), which includes the Planned Parenthood Health Center in Ithaca, has merged with five other New York affiliates to become Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY).

PPGNY now includes Planned Parenthood of New York City, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, Planned Parenthood of Mohawk Hudson, and Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. Between the five affiliates, are 30 PP health centers.

Services in the expanded network include primary care; prenatal care; gender-affirming hormone therapy; sexual assault counseling; birth control, including vasectomy and emergency contraception (“the morning-after pill”); wellness exams for all genders; screenings for breast, cervical, and testicular cancer; colposcopy; pregnancy testing; adoption referrals; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the HPV vaccine; HIV testing and counseling; PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent HIV infection; insurance enrollment and financial assistance. PPGNY also offers surgical abortion and medication abortion. Patients should contact their local center for a list of services.

Previously, Nassau County did not offer gender-affirming care for transgender patients. PPSFL was the first affiliate in New York State to offer gender-affirming care.

Laura McQuade, President and CEO of PPGNY, said that the decision to merge was driven by a desire to provide more seamless access to patients across rural and suburban areas.

“That was really the impetus behind the merger,” McQuade said. “To create an organization that is well positioned financially…one that’s channeling more expense, more resources directly into patient and community support rather than five administrative offices across the state.”

The new PPGNY covers a range of diverse geography, from the rural areas of the Southern Tier, to more urban environments in New York City and Long Island. McQuade said that PPGNY leadership will work to make sure the unique needs of each community are considered.

“Everybody wants GNY to succeed,” she said. “Not just in certain parts of the state.” 

McQuade said the former CEOs of the five PP affiliates taking part in the merger will take on leadership positions at PPGNY, and each of the five affiliates will have representation on the board of directors.

For patients in more rural areas, PPGNY is working to expand their already existing network of healthcare providers contracted outside of brick and mortar PP centers, expanding mobile health care centers and using telehealth care via their mobile app PP Direct to get prescriptions for birth control and UTI treatment.

Patients across all of the PPGNY network will now have the benefit of being able to easily access care in any location under the PPGNY umbrella. For patients with unique or complicated medical histories, seeing a health care provider across the state will be streamlined.

Calvin Kasulke started receiving trans care while living in Ithaca, at PPSFL, but has since moved to Brooklyn. He still receives trans care at the Ithaca center, but said that the option to receive tailored care closer to where he lives is important to him.

“I value being able to turn to PPGNY if it became inconvenient or impossible to use a doctor I have a relationship with, and knowing that they have all my information and my chart and everything,” Kasulke said.

Kasulke also said that the expansion of PP trans care across the state provides a safe space for the trans community to see medical professionals, and receive support through youth groups and guidance on things like legal name changes.

“I know there are many statistics about the amount of harassment that trans people face from medical practitioners, which is absolutely horrifying, and I’ve never had any of that at Planned Parenthood,” he said.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com