Posts Tagged 'hcv'

The New York State Hepatitis C Testing Law: A Focus on Baby Boomers

by Varsha Koripella, M2, Wayne State Medical School; Terri L. Wilder, MSW, Mt. Sinai Institute for Advanced Medicine, & Antonio E. Urbina, MD, Mt. Sinai Institute for Advanced Medicine

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a serious, often under-recognized public health problem in the U.S, especially in New York State (NYS) where an estimated 195,000 of the affected 3.2 million people live. If left untreated, HCV can cause serious liver damage and/or liver cancer, and is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S. Due to recent advances in medicine, new, more effective treatments are now available that can cure most people living with HCV.

To increase HCV testing and ensure timely diagnosis and linkage to care, the NYS Hepatitis C Testing Law was put into effect on January 1, 2014. The law has three main provisions:

  1. An HCV screening test must be offered to every individual born between 1945 and 1965 receiving inpatient services at a hospital or primary care services through a hospital outpatient clinic or diagnostic/treatment center or from a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner regardless of setting. Exceptions occur if the individual is being treated for a life-threatening emergency, has previously been offered or received a HCV screening test, or lacks the capacity to consent. Emergency Departments are encouraged, but not required to offer testing;
  2. The offer of testing must be culturally and linguistically appropriate;
  3. If an individual accepts the offer and the test is reactive, the provider must offer the individual follow-up health care or refer them to a provider who will

The law specifies baby boomers because more than 75% of adults infected with HCV were born between 1945 and 1965, and most were infected in the 1970s and 1980s when drug use was highest. Even now, sharing needles is the most common way for people to become infected. In addition, some may have been infected by contaminated blood products before universal screening of the blood supply began in 1992. Early HCV screening is necessary for improving health outcomes and preventing HCV transmission to others. HCV is a curable disease for most, and the success of treatments depends on providers properly identifying and linking patients to care and treatment.

Are you up-to-date on the NYS Hepatitis C Testing Law?

The NYS Department of Health Clinical Education Initiative (CEI) provides free CME/CNE trainings on HCV for medical providers in NYS. To request a training or to view on-line HCV courses, please visit www.ceitraining.org. To speak with a clinician experienced in managing HCV, call the CEI Line toll-free at 1-866-637-2342.

 

References

  1. Smith, Bryce D., Rebecca L. Morgan, Geoff A. Beckett, Yngve Falck-Ytter, and Deborah Holtzman. “Recommendations for the Identification of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Persons Born during 1945-1965.”Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report¬†4 (2012): 1-32. Print.
  2. New York State Department of Health. Web. 6 June 2015. <http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/hepatitis/hepatitis_c/providers/testing_law.htm&gt;.
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