Original research article| Volume 98, ISSUE 6, P471-475, December 2018

Availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives in Los Angeles County clinics through a Medicaid state plan amendment program



      To assess the availability of long acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods in Los Angeles County through providers participating in a California State Medicaid State Plan Amendment Program called Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (Family PACT).

      Study design

      This was a cross-sectional telephone survey utilizing “secret shopper” methodology. From 855 Family PACT providers in Los Angeles County in 2015, a representative sample of 400 providers was selected for study. Young female researchers posing as potential patients called each sampled clinic to ask a scripted series of questions about LARC availability for Family PACT patients in that practice.


      All but one eligible practice (99.7%) responded to our questions. Among the 336 responding practices, 284 said they accepted Family PACT. Of those accepting Family PACT, staff answering the telephone call at 61% said they did not provide any LARC method onsite, 2% provided all currently available LARC methods, and 6% provided same-day placement of any LARC.


      The majority of Family PACT practices surveyed said that they did not provide any LARC onsite, and very few provided same-day LARC placement despite easy patient enrollment procedures, relatively reasonable reimbursement and concerted efforts to increase LARC use. Substantial barriers to greater uptake may rest at the provider level with either actual unavailability of LARC or staff perception of unavailability.


      Only a minority of Family PACT practices said that LARC methods were available onsite, which imposes substantial restriction to access for women who are entitled to have access without cost. Other states developing programs should be aware of this challenge.


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