For many in our community, these are scary and uncertain times. Many of our patients live paycheck to paycheck, and now many have no paycheck at all. With Give Big right around the corner, we’d like to share the stories of some of our incredible patients with you.
Due to Covid-19, Bridgercare will have an unexpected shortfall of at least $100,000. People in our community are losing their jobs, income, insurance and security – but they should never lose access to reproductive and sexual healthcare. We need your help to make sure that Covid-19 never affects our community’s right to these essential services.
When I was laid off from a local ski resort, all I could think about was that I no longer had any source of income. I wasn’t thinking about the other ways this new reality might rip my life apart. A couple days later, I was almost out of birth control so I got in my car and drove to the pharmacy. Without a job, I no longer had health insurance. I hadn’t thought about that until the pharmacist told me that my birth control, which had always been free, would now cost me $85 a month. I panicked.“I can barely cover my rent and food right now. I can’t afford this,” I said. She told me she was sorry, and asked if I knew anyone who could help me pay for it.
I was shaking and left the counter. I didn’t know who I could call. I stared at my phone… then called my friend who works at Bridgercare. She told me not to worry, and to schedule at Bridgercare because fees for services, including birth control, are based on income. I had never been there before because I never thought I needed them. Now I’m so grateful they exist and are here for me and my friends and coworkers. It is an amazing relief to know I can depend on them when everything else feels out of control.”
For me, the hardest part has been just the sheer volume of unknowns. It definitely feels like the right thing to have the restaurant closed to keep the community safe and healthy. But I can’t know when we will reopen, or if people will feel safe to gather when that time comes. That means there is no way to know when I will have a reliable income again. Navigating unemployment was confusing, waiting to know if I had made some mistake was stressful, and the uncertainty of whether it would be approved was exhausting.
Not knowing how or when I’ll make any kind of money again feels scary, and having no way to take control of that makes you feel helpless. Those unknowns partnered with all the question marks that come with a global crisis can be overwhelming. However, I feel so fortunate for my community taking steps to hold each other up. Knowing I can still rely on Bridgercare is a true relief, because I know that I won’t be left on my own if I need reproductive healthcare. I’m grateful to the clinic for easing the pains of these times for myself and so many in our community.
*Names changed to protect patient privacy
My name is Lauren, and I’m a self employed, 31 year old woman working and living in the Gallatin Valley. I own a local pottery studio where I create my own work as a ceramic artist and offer classes. More than ever, I honestly do not know what I would do without the support of Bridgercare, their staff, and their mission. I know firsthand the uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused. Being a small business owner already has its major challenges in Bozeman. However, the pandemic has brought difficulties that we never could have braced ourselves for. I’m writing this today because even though so much is uncertain, I know I can depend on Bridgercare.
I’ve always been a strong reproductive rights advocate, even as a young teen, and eventually a proud and grateful patient as well. When I moved from Vermont to Montana, I discovered that the nearest Planned Parenthood was a couple hours away. I began the search for affordable, female healthcare providers in the Gallatin Valley. Oh man, was I excited to find Bridgercare! Bridgercare was the oasis I was searching for. Not only is Bridgercare the cleanest, most welcoming and comfortable clinic I have ever been in, but the staff aims to go above and beyond on a daily basis. From affordable, sliding scale fee healthcare for all, community engagement, women’s healthcare, to supporting the underserved and low income families across Montana… Bridgercare is the gold standard for all nonprofit healthcare providers to look up to. I’m not certain of much right now, but I know that throughout the pandemic, Bridgercare will be here with us and making sure everyone can get the care they need.
Lastly, meet Alexandra, a current educator on the Bridgercare/Haven Peer Ed Team. Click on the image and Alexandra will explain more about what Covid-19 means for Teen Clinic, Peer Ed and reproductive healthcare. Sex ed has been cancelled and is no longer happening for the remainder of the year, but our Peer Educators are finding creative ways to make sure everyone has the knowledge they need to make safe choices and keep themselves healthy:
Thank you for putting your values into action and supporting thousands of patients in our communities when it’s needed most. You make sure that Covid-19 won’t get in the way of patients accessing essential services. Your kindness is ensuring that everyone in the Gallatin Valley and beyond knows that Bridgercare is here with them throughout this crisis. Thank you!