The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly disrupted the provision of sexual and reproductive health care in the United States.
We conducted interviews with family planning clinic staff at 55 health care facilities in Arizona, Iowa, and Wisconsin in late 2020 and early 2021. We asked respondents about the challenges they faced and ways they adapted their service provision as a result of the pandemic. We conducted content and thematic analyses of the interview transcripts using an inductively developed qualitative coding scheme.
Family planning clinics and providers made a variety of changes to their clinic operations and service delivery. The three major areas of change for these facilities were implementation of COVID-19 safety procedures, shifting service delivery and staffing to meet patient needs, and the rapid uptake and expansion of telehealth.
While providers faced many challenges, they also described opportunities to innovate and rethink standard of care protocols that may continue to shape sexual and reproductive health care even after the pandemic abates.