Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. Untreated Chlamydia can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year, undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the United States to become infertile.
HEDIS is a widely-used set of performance measures in the managed-care industry, developed and maintained by NCQA. Annual data on Chlamydia screening rates, measured by the proportion of sexually active women aged 15-25 who received at least one Chlamydia test in the measurement year, have been collected in HEDIS since 2000. Screening rates for Medicaid health plans became available in 2001. In 2008, the upper age limit was changed from 25 to 24.
Because of the silent nature of Chlamydia infections, routine screening in clinical and non-clinical settings is the cornerstone of effective STD-related infertility prevention. The HEDIS Chlamydia screening measure is a valuable indicator of commercial and Medicaid health plans’ progress toward increasing the proportion of sexually active women under 25 years of age who are screened at least annually for Chlamydia infections. This is especially important, as the majority of Chlamydia infections are reported from the private sector. The HEDIS data set provides information from health maintenance organizations (HMO) and point-of-service plans (POS).