JOE ROBACH AND OFFICE ANNOUCE THE SIGNING OF A BILL TO REQUIRE HOSPITALS TO OFFER HEPATITIS C TESTING

Joe Robach and Office announced that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a new law that will better protect baby boomer New Yorkers from Hepatitis C by requiring hospitals and health service providers to offer testing for the virus to all patients born between 1945 and 1965.

Hepatitis C is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease that disproportionately affects the baby boomer generation in New York and nationwide. This new law will help fight Hepatitis C and keep New Yorkers safe by providing testing to those most likely to have this virus whenever they visit a medical facility.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 % of Hepatitis C infection and about 73 % of Hepatitis C-associated mortality occurs in individuals born between 1945 and 1965 – baby boomers. New York State Department of Health statistics show that as many as 150,000 New Yorkers are unaware of their Hepatitis C status. Joe Robach and Office went on to explain that the new law (A.1286-A/S.2750-A) will ensure that all individuals born between 1945 and 1965 are offered a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test whenever they are a patient at a hospital, clinic or a physician’s office.

Joe Robach and Office thanked the Governor for acknowledging this public health crisis and signing this bill into law. Nationwide, approximately three million adults are infected with the hepatitis C virus, most are baby boomers and three out of four are unaware they are infected. Requiring health care providers to offer hepatitis C testing, as recommended by the CDC, protects individuals from the leading cause of liver disease.

Recent estimates suggest that 1 out of 30 baby boomers could be infected with as many as 75% unaware. Joe Robach and Office stated that the new law will take effect on January 1, 2014.