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Access to Prenatal Care Among Patients With Opioid Use Disorder in Florida: Findings From a Secret Shopper Study

Obstet Gynecol. 2023 Nov 1;142(5):1162-1168. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000005315. Epub 2023 Aug 10.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate access to prenatal care for pregnant patients receiving medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) under Medicaid coverage in Florida.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, secret shopper study was conducted in which calls were made to randomly selected obstetric clinicians’ offices in Florida. Callers posed as a 14-week-pregnant patient with Medicaid insurance who was receiving MOUD from another physician and requested to schedule a first-time prenatal care appointment. Descriptive statistics were used to report our primary outcome, the callers’ success in obtaining appointments from Medicaid-enrolled physicians’ offices. Wait time for appointments and reasons the physician offices refused appointments to callers were collected.

RESULTS: Overall, 2,816 obstetric clinicians are enrolled in Florida Medicaid. Callers made 1,747 attempts to contact 1,023 randomly selected physicians’ offices from June to September 2021. Only 48.9% of medical offices (n=500) were successfully reached by phone, of which 39.4% (n=197) offered a prenatal care appointment to the caller. The median wait time until the first appointment was 15 days (quartile 1: 7; quartile 3: 26), with a range of 0-55 days. However, despite offering an appointment, 8.6% of the medical offices stated that they do not accept Medicaid insurance payment or would accept only self-pay. Among the 60.6% of callers unable to secure an appointment, the most common reasons were that the clinician was not accepting patients taking methadone (34.7%) or was not accepting any new patients with Medicaid insurance (23.8%) and that the pregnancy would be too advanced by the time of the first available appointment (7.3%).

CONCLUSION: This secret shopper study found that the majority of obstetric clinicians’ offices enrolled in Florida Medicaid do not accept pregnant patients with Medicaid insurance who are taking MOUD. Policy changes are needed to ensure access to adequate prenatal care for patients with opioid use disorder.

PMID:37856854 | DOI:10.1097/AOG.0000000000005315

By Nevin Manimala

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