This report examines the extent to which managed care organizations (MCOs) that serve
Medicaid beneficiaries are promoting effective management, control and prevention of sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs) among their enrollees—and whether these organizations’ policies
correspond with the actual practices of the primary care providers in their networks.
In 1996 alone, 15.3 million new STD cases were reported in the United States, and the
prevalence of these infections is even higher due to the accumulation of viral non-treatable STD
cases. Beyond the suffering caused directly by a particular disease, STDs can lead to infertility,
pregnancy complications, cancer, and a greater susceptibility to HIV infection, among other
complications. The advent and dramatic growth of Medicaid managed care plans increases the
importance of MCOs’ policies and programs to combat STDs, particularly since the Medicaid
population of mostly low-income women and children includes a large proportion of ind ividuals
who are considered at higher risk for STDs.