As the tension around reproductive health grows, one company is expanding its reproductive and sexual health offerings to provide more support for patients.
New York City-based Hey Jane, a virtual abortion provider, announced last week that it is now offering vaginal infections treatment. This includes treatment for urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis and herpes. It is also offering birth control and emergency contraception. Patients complete an intake form, are connected with a provider on Hey Jane and then are able to discuss their needs with the provider via text, phone or video.
The company chose to expand beyond abortion services after hearing a need from its current patients, said Alyssa Wagner, DNP, RN, APRN, WHNP-BC, head of medical at Hey Jane. She added that it was a natural step for the company.
“All abortion is is reproductive health, just like yeast, just like herpes, just like birth control,” Wagner said in an interview. “These are all really important, really safe, really evidence-based reproductive healthcare issues that we can manage. Odds are, if you are a provider who is experienced with abortion, you’re also a provider who’s very experienced with birth control and infection. Our team of providers are experts in all of these fields, so it was a pretty good, small jump to include these other service lines as well.”
She added that there is a stigma with some sexual health conditions, like herpes, and seeing a regular provider virtually helps with that. In addition, when it comes to emergency contraception, patients are able to get it in advance and use it immediately when they need to.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that you don’t need to need emergency contraception to get emergency contraception,” Wagner said. “In fact, it’s much better if you have it on-hand so that as soon as you need it, you can just take it.”
The company accepts insurance, including from Aetna, Sana Benefits, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois. Patients can also access Hey Jane’s services without insurance, and the company offers a sliding pay scale for those paying out of pocket.
The company operates in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Virginia and Washington. But patients don’t have to be residents of those states to be eligible for Hey Jane’s services. Instead, they can travel to those states to receive and take their medications if needed. For abortion medication services, the company has partnerships with local abortion organizations that can help with travel and financial support.
Another company that offers virtual abortion services is Carafem, which also provides birth control but doesn’t appear to provide services for vaginal infections. Hers, meanwhile, offers birth control and sexual health treatments, but doesn’t appear to offer abortion services.
Ultimately, Hey Jane aims to improve access to reproductive and sexual health support, Wagner said.
“We know that we are reaching patients who don’t always go into the clinic: transgender patients, people who have been discriminated against and treated poorly in brick and mortar clinics. … I think that making sure that we provide an avenue for access to people who have been kind of stigmatized in healthcare is a big goal for us,” she stated.
The company also hopes to continue to grow, both in its footprint and in the services it offers, Wagner added.
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