NEICAC Family Planning Clinic will close at the end of June

by Lissa Blake

The Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) Family Planning Clinic in Decorah will close its doors June 30 of this year. At a meeting Monday night, February 27, the NEICAC Board of Directors voted to close the Clinic when its contract with the Iowa Department of Public Health ends at this year's midpoint.

“The decision was very difficult for the Board,” said David Boss, NEICAC director of community outreach and development.

According to NEICAC Director Mary Ann Humpal, the program has lost over $90,000 per year for the past two years and is looking at losing that much again by the close of this fiscal year.

“We are jeopardizing other programming within the agency,” said Humpal.

Humpal said there are many factors that went into the Board’s decision to close the office, which serves around 600 customers in a seven-county area.

“Healthcare is complicated. We have many funding sources. Since Iowa switched from private payer to managed care organizations (MCOs), reimbursement (for Medicaid) has become more of a challenge,” said Humpal.

In 2015, Iowa’s Medicaid program switched from being a state-run service to being handled by several private MCOs.

Boss added in light of political discussions at both the federal and state level about defunding similar family planning programs (such as Planned Parenthood), the Board decided it couldn’t sustain the organization for another year. The Family Planning staff will utilize the next four months working with its clients to help find alternative providers.

In an initial released statement, Humpal stated, “The program's financials are getting worse each year. As much as this clinic is needed and used by 600-plus clients, we cannot compromise the financial stability of the entire agency for the clinic.  The Federal Family Planning funding (Title X) has not changed for over 10 years and has decreased since 2010.  It is a sad day, but without a sustaining funding source to keep the clinic going long-term, there really wasn’t any other option.”

Humpal said NEICAC has nine offices in seven counties. There are offices in the county seats of Allamakee, Bremer, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties, as well as in Postville and Oelwein. The Decorah office is the only office that offered family planning services, and residents of these other counties historically traveled to Decorah to receive them.

In looking at budget considerations, the Board felt it was a priority to keep these main family services offices open, so people would have somewhere to physically visit to obtain other services.

“We have 6,000 clients, not counting our transit or housing clients,” said Humpal. “My Board really struggled with this. We are supportive of family planning, but we have to look at the whole agency.”

In addition to family planning services, NEICAC runs a public transit service, offers housing assistance, Wheels for Work, home energy assistance, food pantries and more. For more information, visit