Objective: To assess the impact of Oregon's policy that allows pharmacist prescription of the pill and patch on contraceptive receipt for Medicaid-insured women.
Study design: We conducted a difference-in-differences analysis using Oregon Medicaid claims data to compare changes in receipt of all contraceptive services and receipt of the pill or patch for Medicaid-enrolled women (n = 436,258) before and after policy implementation in areas with and without participating pharmacists. We then described filled prescriptions for the contraceptive pill and patch by type of prescribing provider before and after implementation of the policy. We also compared past contraceptive use for women receiving prescriptions from pharmacists and non-pharmacists.
Results: We found no significant policy effects on receipt of all contraceptive services or on receipt of the pill or patch. More than 98% of prescriptions filled for the pill and patch in the first two years of policy implementation were prescribed by a non-pharmacist provider. Women receiving contraceptive pill and patch prescriptions from pharmacists and non-pharmacists were equally likely to be continuing contraceptive users.
Conclusion: We identified no increase in receipt of contraceptive services among Medicaid-insured women in the two years following the implementation of a pharmacy access policy. Additional research is needed to investigate other possible benefits of the policy, such as satisfaction, convenience, cost and equity.
Implications: We identified no effect of allowing pharmacist prescription of the contraceptive pill and patch on increasing utilization of contraceptive services for Medicaid-insured women in Oregon. Impacts on access to contraceptive services and unintended pregnancy may emerge in subsequent years as availability of and demand for pharmacist-prescribed hormonal contraception increases.
Keywords: Contraceptive services; Medicaid; Oregon; Pharmacists.
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