Implementing the Nation’s First State Hepatitis C Testing Law
The LawThe NYS Hepatitis C Testing Law was signed into law by the governor on October 23, 2013 and implemented effective January 1, 2014. This new law mirrors the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC). The law was enacted to increase HCV testing and ensure timely diagnosis and linkage to care.
The two key provisions of the NYS Hepatitis C Testing Law are:
- A hepatitis C screening test must be offered to every individual born between 1945 and 1965 receiving services as an inpatient of a hospital or receiving primary care services in the outpatient department of a hospital or in a freestanding diagnostic and treatment center or from a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner providing primary care.
- If an individual accepts the test and the screening test is reactive, the health care provider must offer or refer for follow-up health care, including a HCV diagnostic test (i.e., HCV RNA).
Educating Providers and ConsumersAll activities related to the testing law implementation and evaluation are being coordinated by the NYS Department of Health’s AIDS Institute.
To inform healthcare providers of the new law, the AIDS Institute:
- Issued a “Dear Colleague” letter ;
- Developed a “Frequently Asked Questions” document;
- Conducted stakeholder conference calls and in-person meetings; and
- Released a web castExit Disclaimer.
Finally, the law requires the NYSDOH to conduct an evaluation on its impact with respect to the number of persons who are screened for hepatitis C and the number of persons who have accessed care following a positive test. The final report is due to the Governor by January 2016. The evaluation activities will include:
- To determine number of tests conducted
- Survey of all commercial laboratories in NYS
- Analysis of Medicaid and HCV surveillance data
- To determine the number of persons who have accessed care following a positive test
- Analysis of HCV surveillance data
- To learn more about how providers have implemented the law, a survey will be mailed to a sample of providers statewide (i.e., MD, DO, PA, and NP).