Looking back at everything we accomplished in the past year, we’re proud to share our annual report with you.
When carafem first opened doors over five years ago, our mission was clear: to provide best-in-class, compassionate, convenient abortion care with an unapologetic message. With four health centers and a telehealth program operating in three states and the District of Columbia, our focus and optimization have enabled carafem to serve more clients year-over-year and ensure that client satisfaction scores remain above 95%. In short, we know we have a model that works well.
During our first years of operation, we focused on constantly improving the carafem experience; client-centered care that prioritizes exceptional quality blended with compassion, convenience, and affordability. We have expanded while maintaining our passion and consistency of results. On average, clients spend less than an hour in our health centers with virtually no time in the waiting room. Clients tell us they appreciate that most of their time in the office is spent one-on-one with a carafem provider and how quickly they can return to their busy lives.
In March of 2019, we opened our fourth health center in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. Within 48 hours of opening, city commissioners held an emergency session and unanimously passed a rezoning law relegating abortions to be performed only within industrial zones in the city. To fight this unfair and obstructive zoning ordinance, carafem partnered with the ACLU to sue the city and stand up for Tennesseans who deserve access to safe, comprehensive abortion care. Fourteen months later on May 1, 2020, a federal judge issued an injunction in the case. We began offering surgical procedures just 10 days later, and on May 29, the city council voted to lift the zoning ordinance. We are proud of this victory as it supports the broader movement of safe abortion rights.
Expanding access to abortion care through telemedicine is an important part of carafem’s roadmap. With limited abortion providers in the south, our telehealth technology program (launched in 2018) allows clients in the health center to meet with an off-site physician through a secure, encrypted video conferencing platform. This technology is a success; allowing carafem to serve more clients through telemedicine visits without increasing costs.
In 2019, carafem joined Gynuity Health Projects to evaluate the use of telemedicine for the provision of abortion pills through the mail in Georgia. Results have been encouraging. With the challenges brought by COVID19, we recently expanded this service to Maryland, Illinois, and Washington, DC so qualified clients can receive abortion care without having to leave home or needlessly travel long distances to find a provider.
carafem continues to incorporate technology as a way to innovate and improve client care. In April of 2019, we began testing an SMS-based virtual assistant to answer questions and assist clients with the process of taking the abortion pill at home. This assistant (aptly named “Cara”) has been helpful to clients who use text messaging to access information, ask questions, and as a guide to supplement their treatment plan after an appointment with our staff. While clients are aware that “Cara” isn’t a real person, they seem more comfortable reaching out with questions by text, which has increased our connection to our clients and allows our staff to join in the conversation seamlessly when a client requires a more human connection than the virtual assistant can provide. While technology will never replace human interaction, we have found it to be a welcomed and valued new resource.
The past year has been one of discovery and optimization. The coming year will be one of expansion. Our model has demonstrated care in the best interest of clients that is both scalable and pandemic proof. We look forward to expanding into more states and becoming more accessible to more people than ever before.
carafem’s success would not be possible without the enthusiastic work of the carafem team, donors, and volunteers. We thank you for your support.