York is the first state to mandate offering Hepatitis C testing to baby boomers
after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation. The legislation, sponsored
by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City), requires health care providers as of
January 1, 2014 to offer a one time Hepatitis C screening test to people born
between 1945 and 1965.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated in 2012 that the target group, baby boomers, could have as many as 800,000 undiagnosed cases. The CDC also said that one out of 30 baby boomers could have Hepatitis C and as many as 75 percent are unaware they are infected.
“New York is setting an example for responsible and proactive Hepatitis C policy,” Zebrowski said today. “The unique asymptomatic nature of this disease requires an aggressive approach to expanded testing to those with the highest risk.
In 2007, Hepatitis C complications resulted in 15,000 deaths, more than the 12,700 deaths resulting from complications of HIV. An estimated 3.5 to 5.3 million Americans are currently infected with Hepatitis C and the majority shows no symptoms.
Since the passage of the legislation, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has changed the baby boomer testing recommendation from a grade C to B, ensuring that future healthcare insurance plans will cover the cost of testing. The Center for Medicare Services started a proceeding, which is the first step in providing Hepatitis C testing coverage.
“This law will finally give Hepatitis C the attention it needs and deserves,” Zebrowski said.
Related articles -----