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In a win for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s patients, the fourth circuit affirmed that patients who use Medicaid as insurance can continue to choose the healthcare organization as their provider  

COLUMBIA, SC —  In a major win for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s (PPSAT) patients, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today upheld a district court injunction issued last summer against Governor Henry McMaster’s illegal Executive Order blocking Medicaid patients from accessing preventive health care services at Planned Parenthood in South Carolina.

In its decision the court affirmed that people who use Medicaid as their insurance have the right to visit any qualified provider that accepts Medicaid, and that Planned Parenthood is more than qualified to deliver high-quality, comprehensive health care. Federal law prohibits states from interfering with Medicaid patients’ access to the qualified provider of their choice. 

Patients in South Carolina are already suffering from a chronic shortage of health care providers, especially those that will accept patients who use Medicaid as their insurance. For 40 years, Planned Parenthood has been a vital health care safety net for those patients in South Carolina. The two Planned Parenthood health centers in the state — located in Columbia and Charleston — are in areas with formally recognized provider shortages. These facts make the court’s decision even more critical as Medicaid patients struggle to find providers who will see them for basic preventative healthcare like breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control and STI prevention, testing and treatment.

Statement from Jenny Black, CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic:
 

“The women and men who come to Planned Parenthood for health care aren’t doing so to make a political statement. They choose to come to us because we are the provider they know and trust for compassionate, quality, affordable care.

““Every year, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic serves thousands of South Carolinians, providing lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, including HIV, and other preventive care." 

“Today we celebrate on behalf of all of those patients who can continue to come to us, their trusted health care provider, for family planning and other preventive health care. 

“Many patients who qualify for Medicaid choose PPSAT for their healthcare needs because we can accommodate the unique scheduling constraints caused by inflexible work schedules, childcare obligations, and transportation challenges. To ensure that these patients have access to family planning services and other preventive care, PPSAT offers extended hours and flexible scheduling - including offering our full range of services to walk-in patients — as well as offering same-day appointments.

“The bottom line is that it is critical to public health for the state to maintain the fullest possible network of qualified providers to ensure patients get the care they need. 

“Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is committed to standing up for our patients, and we are elated that the court acted to protect South Carolinians who are most in need of access to affordable health care. Governor McMaster should take heed of the court's decision and focus on improving health outcomes for women in South Carolina rather than attempting to create more barriers to accessing healthcare.”

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Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading nonprofit sexual health provider, educator, and advocate. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) provides high quality, nonjudgmental care and education, including annual exams, lifesaving cancer screenings—like Pap tests and clinical breast exams—STI testing and treatment, and abortion care in health centers located throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is committed to providing care, no matter what.