The Grinnell branch of the Central Iowa Family Planning Clinic has been in town for more than 20 years and has helped numerous men and women attain reproductive health services. The clinic offers a wide range of gynecological services such as prescriptions for birth control methods, annual exams and STD screening. Fees for the services are determined based on a sliding scale, so for many Grinnell students, the services they offer are free.
“We offer pretty much any services related to women’s and men’s reproductive health,” said Shannon Zoffka, Central Iowa Family Planning representative. The clinic carries a wide range of contraceptives, including the pill, the patch, the ring, the shot, Implanons, IUDs, condoms, emergency contraceptives and diaphragms. The clinic also offers yearly exams including PAP smears, pregnancy testing and counseling, HIV testing and counseling, STD testing for both males and females and treatment for urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
The clinic bases its fees on the income and family size of individual patients, which are based off of the Federal Poverty guidelines.
“Nobody’s turned away due to inability to pay,” Zoffka said. The clinic also accepts all types of insurance and participates in the Family Planning Waiver Program for Iowa residents who don’t have insurance but need health coverage.
All Central Iowa Family Planning clinics—located in Marshalltown and Toledo as well as in Grinnell—receive funding from the Title X Family Planning Program initiated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to various service-specific grants. However, some patients do pay a full fee, and those who don’t are encouraged to donate. Due to budget cuts and the economic recession, which have brought in a lot of new patients, the budget does get a little tight sometimes.
Students are encouraged to stop by if they have any questions about their reproductive health. The clinic stocks pamphlets and posters on a variety of topics, especially those containing information about sexual health. This year, the staff of the clinic also participated in the training offered by the Sexual Health Information Center at the College.
Deb Shill, Lead Nurse and Student Health Services Coordinator, said that the staff of the Student Health and Counseling Services typically refer people to the Central Iowa Family Planning Clinic when they need birth control or STD testing.
“We generally refer them to Central Iowa Family Planning mainly because it’s fee-based and so it’s a good way for students to get that service at a reduced cost,” she said. “It’s a great resource for our community to have, not only for our campus but the community as a whole.”
Allison Conley ’14 has visited the clinic and found the potentially awkward experience to be a positive one, despite a curiously placed poster of a beach tacked on the ceiling above the examination table.
“Everyone there is really nice, and the doctor is really nice and very experienced,” she said. “She made sure to talk about what you wanted and what you’d heard from other people, and I feel like I made a good decision.”
Patients at Central Iowa Family Planning are required to bring their last paycheck stub, their photo ID, and their insurance card if they have one. The clinic can be tricky to find because of its somewhat obscure signage, but it is located at 717 5th Ave., Suite 4 in a tan building, and is open every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The clinic can be contacted at (641) 236-7787 for more information.