FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Washington, DC - June 8, 2011 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has the potential to improve identification and treatment of chlamydia infections due to provisions that expand access to coverage, without cost-sharing, for selected preventive services, including chlamydia screening.
To explore how health plans can support increased chlamydia screening among their members, the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation and the National Chlamydia Coalition hosted a webinar entitled “Opportunities for Health Plans to Improve Chlamydia Screening Rates” on June 2, 2011.
The discussion highlighted the adverse reproductive outcomes linked to chlamydia infection, including infertility, and the direct medical costs associated with the infection--more than $700 million annually--as an impetus for health plans to be concerned about the low HEDIS rates for chlamydia screening. A leader from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained that sexually active younger women aged 14-24 are three times more likely to contract chlamydia than sexually active adult women aged 25-30 and emphasized the importance of working with health plans to address patient and provider barriers to chlamydia screening for this younger population. A researcher from the Colorado School of Public Health discussed how health plans with high and low rates of chlamydia screening engage in similar screening interventions and concluded that barriers to screening lie in difficulties interacting with minors and cultural and resource-based issues. The speaker stressed the importance of maintaining a consistent focus to address perceived barriers and the discomfort providers have discussing sensitive topics. A representative from BlueCross BlueShield of Texas shared that while the health plan met resistance to efforts to improve screening rates, the public health impact was significant enough that the plan launched a publicly available health and wellness website for members and providers, and the site has since gained national attention. Finally, a speaker from Molina HealthCare described a pilot project to educate members and providers about the importance of chlamydia screening that resulted in a 14 percent increase in screening rates in the program’s first year.
The webinar included the following presentations:
- Opportunities to Improve Chlamydia Screening under the Affordable Care Act, Eduardo Sanchez, MD, Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas
- Chlamydia: Magnitude of the Problem & Strategies for Prevention, Gail Bolan, MD, Director, Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Improving Chlamydia Screening HEDIS Rates: Strategies of High & Low Performing Health Plans, Adam Atherly, PhD, Chair, Associate Professor, Colorado School of Public Health
- Chlamydia Practice Improvement Project (CPIP), Kathryn Armstrong, Health Educator, Molina HealthCare
NIHCM Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that conducts research on health care issues. The Foundation disseminates research findings and analyses that promote and enhance access to health care and the efficiency and effectiveness of health care services and delivery.
About the NCC
The National Chlamydia Coalition (NCC), convened and led by Partnership for Prevention, addresses the continued high burden of chlamydia infection, especially among young women age 25 and under, and strives to attain the overarching mission of reducing the rates of chlamydia and its harmful effects among sexually active adolescents and young adults. The NCC is comprised of non-profit organizations, medical professional associations, advocacy groups, health insurers, and local, state and federal government agencies. See www.prevent.org/NCC for more information.
President and CEO
Senior Program Officer
Partnership for Prevention and
National Chlamydia Coalition