A Qualitative Study of Clinicians' Perspectives on a Law That Allows for a 12-month Supply of Short-Acting Contraceptives in Massachusetts: Barriers and Facilitators to Implementation

Author Department

Ob/Gyn; Healthcare Quality

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Objective: To explore clinicians' perspectives regarding the Massachusetts 2017 law, 'An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Our State' (ACCESS), including awareness of the law, perceived barriers and facilitators to successful implementation, and recommendations to improve uptake. ACCESS requires all insurers, except self-insured businesses, to cover short-acting reversible contraceptives (SARCs) at no cost to patients and for a 12-month supply to be prescribed/dispensed if desired after completion of a three-month trial.

Data sources and study setting: We collected primary data from clinicians in Massachusetts from February 1 to July 31, 2021.

Study design: Semi-structured interviews of a purposeful sample of Massachusetts clinicians who provide primary and/or women's healthcare were conducted via Zoom.

Data collection/extraction methods: Interview guide and codebook were created using the Theoretical Domains Framework. Interviews were analyzed using framework analysis, including deductive and inductive approaches. Major themes and subthemes were organized by a four-level model of the healthcare system: patient, care team (clinician), organization, and environment.

Principal findings: Most (58.1%) of the 31 participants were not aware of the law. Perceived advantages of this law included decreasing burden on patients, unnecessary clinical visits, and administrative burden on staff for refill requests. Perceived disadvantages focused on concerns that patients would lose their medications or devices (patient-level) and decreased clinician contact with patients (provider-level). Perceived organization- and environmental-level barriers to implementation included lack of electronic medical record (EMR) prescription defaults and insurance coverage issues. Many felt EMR modifications and more training for clinicians and pharmacists could lead to a change in practice.

Conclusion: Our study identifies potentially modifiable barriers to the implementation of the ACCESS law. Massachusetts clinicians' lack of awareness of the law demonstrates the need for statewide education, which may allow more eligible patients to obtain a 12-month SARC supply.

Keywords: implementation; law; short-acting contraception methods; supply.