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      Medicaid agency wants to increase access to healthcare

      Medicaid agency is making changes to expand access to health care

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's Medicaid agency is making changes to expand access to health care.

      Health and Human Services Director Tony Keck says getting people healthier starts with making health care more convenient. Recent changes include covering visits to walk-in clinics in CVS pharmacies and encouraging doctors to make appointments beyond normal business hours.

      Keck says if people can get medical care at times convenient for them, they are less likely to end up in the emergency room, where treatment is more expensive, especially if their problems are advanced.

      Medicaid began covering treatment at CVS MinuteClinics in April.

      The head of the state Pharmacy Association says he thinks pharmacies of all sizes will soon offer patients options for care outside the doctor's office. Craig Burridge says the approach helps patients and doctors.