A Survey of 25 North Carolina Health Departments/Districts on Knowledge, Attitudes, and Current Practices to Seeking Reimbursement From Third-Party Payers for Sexually Transmitted Disease Services

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Abstract

Background

North Carolina Administrative Code 10A Chapter 41A.0204 (a) states “local health departments shall provide diagnosis, testing, treatment, follow-up, and preventive services for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, … These services shall be provided upon request and at no charge to the patient.” Although health departments/districts may bill governmental or nongovernmental insurance providers for sexually transmitted disease (STD) services, current billing practices are unknown. Because of its high STD morbidity, the eastern region of North Carolina was targeted.

Methods

Using a Qualtrics Survey developed to measure attitudes as well as knowledge and reimbursement practices, this descriptive study was performed with staff from 25 eastern North Carolina health departments/districts. Snowball sampling was used to allow for greater inclusion. Analysis of data was performed at the individual and agency level based on types of questions in the survey.

Results

For knowledge, 87% of the respondents reported being aware of the possibility of reimbursement from third-party payers/commercial insurance carriers for STD services. In regard to current billing of these services, 20 health departments/districts (80%) reported they were billing these payers. When asked about their attitude of seeking reimbursement from commercial insurance, 92% reported it was acceptable or very acceptable. But when asked if STD services should remain a free service at the health department, 55% supported and 45% did not.

Conclusions

These data provide a knowledge base for assisting health departments/districts to move forward in improving STD services as well as maximizing reimbursement from third-party payers/commercial insurance carriers when possible.

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