Dane County Budget Funds Reproductive Health Patient Navigator Positions

November 10, 2022
County Board Supervisor Cecely Castillo, (608) 616-0312
County Board

The 2023 budget passed the Dane County Board last night which includes 2 full-time patient navigators to help address gaps in reproductive health care and add capacity for prenatal care coordination within Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC). These full-time nurse positions were added to the budget via an amendment sponsored by Supervisor Cecely Castillo (District 7).

"We are living in a post Roe v. Wade world where people in Wisconsin are not able to access the full spectrum of reproductive care, which includes abortion care and these patient navigator positions will help bridge that gap," said Cecely Castillo, County Board Supervisor (District 7). "As the recent referendum results show, 85.5% of Dane County voters want the 1849 abortion ban language removed from Wisconsin’s state statutes. These much needed patient navigator positions reflect that strong support in our community for full reproductive healthcare access."

"Access to a full range of reproductive, sexual health and family planning services has never been more critical than it is right now," said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. "We are grateful for the support to increase capacity via the creation of these Patient Navigator positions to assist in ensuring that everyone who may be pregnant or become pregnant in the future has access to evidence based information to support the reproductive decision that is right for them."

"The Patient Navigators will help address the gaps in reproductive health care and provide additional capacity for prenatal care coordination that has seen an almost 20% monthly increase in referrals compared to pre-pandemic averages. Creating an additional two public health nurse navigators (PHNs) positions will increase our capacity to and bring together stakeholders to insure access to necessary reproductive health services, engage with community partners and collaborate with new and existing networks in Dane County," said County Board Supervisor Holly Hatcher (District 26).

"The US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade combined with Wisconsin’s arcane, 1849 abortion ban has created confusion for people’s reproductive health care decisions," said Patrick Miles, Dane County Board Chair. "I hope these navigator positions can help people exercise their human right in getting needed health care."

The City of Madison and Dane County share joint oversight over PHMDC. A companion amendment, authored by Alder Yanette Figueroa Cole, recently passed the finance committee and is making its way through the city budget process. The budget passed by the County Board will next go to the County Executive.