Backers say bill to allow reassignment of birth control devices would save money, increase access

Proponents say a bill in the Missouri House would expand access to birth control and save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Representative Shamed Dogan (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Bill 1499 would allow health care providers to use a long-acting contraceptive device for a patient other than the one for whom it was initially prescribed.

In Missouri when a woman goes to a health care provider and elects to use a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), her provider must order that device and implant it on a subsequent office visit.  Often women don’t return to have the device implanted, and Missouri law doesn’t allow that device to be used by another patient – it must be returned to its manufacturer and is often destroyed.

In Fiscal Year 2017 approximately 1,800 LARCs were so “abandoned” in Missouri.  About 1,100 of those could have been used in other patients, saving the state approximately $220-thousand dollars.

Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, Alison Dreith, told the House Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy, “By redistributing the device two things can happen.  Money is saved.  LARC devices are very expensive and this allows for the product to be utilized which overall saves the state money; and due to having stock on their shelves that can be used for another MO Health Net patient, providers are able to insert the IUD or implant that same day rather than having to wait for the person to return.”

Bill sponsor Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) said the issue is one of fiscal responsibility.

“We’re wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on pretty expensive birth control devices when in any other case with a pharmacy, with a product that someone orders and they don’t pick it up, you can reassign that to another patient,” said Dogan.  “This bill just allows MOHealthNet to do that with these devices and it has the potential savings to the state of a quarter of a million dollars a year.”

The proposal was passed out of the House in 2017 as an amendment to other legislation but did not become law.  No one testified in opposition to it in the Committee’s hearing.

The committee has not voted on HB 1499.