Policy & Politics
Medicare Panel Advises Coverage for STD Tests, Counseling
August 31, 2011
If a new proposal is adopted, Medicare would include STD screenings for at-risk patients among the services it covers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also would add STD prevention counseling for patients at high/increased risk, as well as hepatitis B testing for pregnant women. While most Medicare patients are age 65 or older, about 10 percent are younger, primarily persons with disabilities.
Having already undergone six months of study, the matter will remain open to public comment through Sept. 9. CMS will review the comments and evidence before issuing a final determination.
The proposed services include screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea for at-risk women annually, and for certain pregnant populations; annual syphilis testing for at-risk men and women; hepatitis screening for newly pregnant women and those at continuing risk; and 20- to 30-minute face-to-face high-intensity STD-prevention counseling sessions for sexually active adolescents and at-risk adults. The counseling components might include education, skills training and guidance on how to change sexual behavior.
The extension of preventive services under Medicare stems from 2008 legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush. Additional changes could include adding coverage for screening and counseling to reduce alcohol misuse, and intensive behavioral therapy to prevent cardiovascular disease.
08.26.2011; Bill Toland
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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