A Medicaid program that provides limited benefits to some 150,000 low income South Carolinians will be renamed by the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Moving forward, Healthy Connections Checkup will become “Family Planning,” agency spokesman Peter Brooks confirmed.
The program will remain available to residents whose income falls below 194 percent of the federal poverty, which is about $23,000 a year for a single adult.
It includes free birth control and a free physical exam once every two years. Patients who qualify also may receive free screenings for diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, hepatitis C and mental illness.
Some health experts have criticized the program because it does not cover any follow-up care. If, for example, a patient covered by the program discovered she had cancer, the Medicaid agency would pay for her screening, but for none of the cancer treatment.
Agency Director Christian Soura told The Post and Courier last year that he had reservations marketing the program because it was designed to identify potential health problems, but not actually treat them.
Brooks said the only thing changing about the program is its name.
The Medical University of South Carolina received about $1.24 million to train nurses and enhance its primary care system.
The money was handed down by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, according to July 20 press release that states more than $149 million was given to medical facilities across the nation.
Money given to MUSC will be used to train advanced practice nurses, provide “traineeships” to licensed registered nurses and increase the nursing faculty.
The money also will be used to help psychologists address the behavioral health needs of patients and integrate behavioral health into primary care.
Overall, South Carolina institutions received $2.25 million, including $394,824 for the University of South Carolina and $619,106 for Francis Marion University.
Derrek Asberry and Lauren Sausser