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Evaluation of the Impact of Mandating Health Care Providers to Offer Hepatitis C Virus Screening to All Persons Born During 1945–1965 — New York, 2014
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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    Approximately 75% of all hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in the United States and 73% of HCV-associated mortality occur in persons born during 1945-1965, placing this birth cohort at increased risk for liver cancer and other HCV-related liver disease (1). In the United States, an estimated 2.7 million persons are living with HCV infection, and it is estimated that up to 75% of these persons do not know their status. Since 2012, CDC has recommended that persons born during 1945-1965 receive one-time HCV testing. To increase the number of persons tested for HCV and to ensure timely diagnosis and linkage to care, in 2014, New York enacted a hepatitis C testing law that requires health care providers to offer HCV antibody screening to all persons born during 1945-1965 who are receiving services in primary care settings or as hospital inpatients, and to refer persons with positive HCV antibody tests for follow-up health care, including an HCV diagnostic test (i.e., HCV RNA).* The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) used survey data from clinical laboratories and Medicaid claims and encounter data, and state and New York City (NYC) HCV surveillance data to assess the number of persons tested for HCV and number of persons with newly diagnosed HCV infections who were linked to care. During the first year of the HCV law implementation, there was a 51% increase in specimens submitted for HCV testing to surveyed clinical laboratories; testing rates among active Medicaid clients increased 52%, and linkage to care among persons with newly diagnosed HCV infection increased approximately 40% in New York and 11% in NYC. These findings highlight the potential for state laws to promote HCV testing and the utility of HCV surveillance and Medicaid claims data to monitor the quality of HCV testing and linkage to care for HCV-infected persons.

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