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Public Notice of Final Action for the Pharmacy Access Act Initiative

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) gives notice of the following actions regarding the Pharmacy Access Act Initiative under the State Plan under Title XIX of the Social Security Act Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid).

On May 23, 2022, the South Carolina General Assembly passed, and the governor signed the Pharmacy Access Act allowing pharmacists to screen individual patients to determine which, if any, hormonal contraception would be appropriate to administer to an individual through a standing order.

Effective on or after Oct. 1, 2023, in accordance with the Pharmacy Access Act, SCDHHS will update the State Plan to define pharmacists as another practitioner type and add reimbursement rates for these services. Pharmacies will be reimbursed for pharmacist services at parity with nurse practitioners and physician assistants at 80% of physician rates.

SCDHHS currently provides broad coverage for hormonal contraceptives, so any marginal increase in the utilization of contraceptives is expected to be minimal and will likely represent a shift from contraceptives prescribed by physicians to those administered by pharmacists. Additionally, proper use of hormonal contraception is likely to reduce the incidence of unplanned or poorly spaced pregnancies, leading to cost savings and potential reductions in poor birth outcomes.

Based on the action above, SCDHHS anticipates a fee-for-service budget impact of approximately $21,000 annually which includes both state and federal dollars.

Copies of this notice are available at each South Carolina Healthy Connections Medicaid county office and at for public review. Additional information regarding this action is available upon request at the address cited below.

Any written comments submitted may be reviewed by the public at SCDHHS, Office of Medical Directors and Pharmacy Services, 1801 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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