Checkups for cheap

Heal your body without hurting your wallet

photo by audrey love

Many women put off getting a routine health exam because of the cost. For someone on a fixed income, a visit to the doctor can mean not having groceries for a week. Those annual checkups are a must for women’s health at any age, and fortunately, there are services out there that can help offset the high costs of medical care. Here are a few places in Reno that cater to women who need to see the doctor without breaking the bank.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte has two locations in Reno, 455 W. Fifth St., and 4385 Neil Road. The non-profit organization offers a variety of services to women, encompassing every aspect of feminine health from STD testing to treating urinary tract infections. Alison Gaulden, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public affairs, has noticed some interesting health trends that stem from a depressed economy: Fewer women are coming to receive their yearly checkup. However, more women are getting on birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and the added cost of an extra child.

“There is an inordinate increase in birth control,” she says. “The economy has really impacted reproduction.”

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte isn’t a free clinic, but it offers a discounted rate with a valid ID and proof of being low-income, such as a pay stub. Planned Parenthood offers consultations in English and Spanish, and although walk-ins are accepted, they strongly suggest you make an appointment. Because of the high volume of clients, you may not be seen that day as a walk-in patient.

Neil Road clinic information: Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. 829-2211.

Fifth Street clinic information: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. 688-5555. Learn more about both locations at

Family Planning Clinic is in the Washoe County Health Department in Building B, 1001 E. Ninth St. The clinic, which is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., offers birth control, STD tests, pap smears, mammograms and other services geared toward women’s health.

Stacy Hardie is program supervisor at Family Planning Clinic (also pictured above), where clients pay according to their means.

photo by audrey love

“We have the family planning program, and it is a great source for women of childbearing age,” says program supervisor Stacy Hardie. While the focus of the clinic is helping women make the right choices about family planning, it also offers checkups, consultations and information about reproductive issues and general women’s health.

Appointments are encouraged, and the clinic accepts payment on a sliding scale, so clients can make payments based on their means. You will need to bring a valid photo ID and a copy of your tax return or pay stub to verify your income. Also located in the same building is the Teen Health Mall, which offers health services to teens. Unless they are self-supporting, most teens do not make a livable income, so the majority of teens seen at the clinic are covered by donations.

To contact Family Planning Clinic, call 328-2700, or visit

HAWC Main Medical and Dental Clinic provides services on a sliding scale based on the client’s ability to pay. HAWC (Health Access Washoe County) was created by the Washoe County Medical Society in 1995 to treat the uninsured. Located at 1055 S. Wells Ave., HAWC offers discounted medical and dental treatment and flexible payment plans for low-income patients. The cost of going to HAWC is around a quarter of what you would pay elsewhere. However, the Wells clinic is not free. For those who are homeless, HAWC also maintains the HAWC Outreach Community Clinic on 355 Record St. According to its website, HAWC serves 5,000 people every month, 80 percent of whom are women and children. To save time and be seen faster, print the patient registration form online, and fill it out before your appointment.

In addition to general medical and dental services, HAWC offers pap smears, mammograms, contraceptive counseling, testing for STDs and limited prescription fills and refills. HAWC also participates in a program called Sharing the Care, where patients can receive medication through Pfizer Pharmaceutical free of charge. To be eligible, you must be living at or below the poverty level, have no insurance or Medicaid, and provide identification and proof of income. HAWC does accept walk-ins, although making an appointment is recommended. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To contact HAWC Main Medical and Dental Clinic, call 329-6300, or visit