Hepatitis C testing among baby boomers increased more than 50% in New York, following the implementation of a testing law in 2014 that required health care providers to offer HCV screening to all patients born between 1945 to 1965, according to a report from the CDC.
“Marked increases in the number of HCV tests performed and rates of testing were observed immediately after enactment of the law and remained steady over a 12-month period,” Colleen A. Flanigan, MS, from the New York State Department of Health, and colleagues wrote in the report. “Smaller increases were noted in the number of persons who accessed care after receiving a positive HCV screening test result.”
To assess the number of patients screened for HCV and those linked to care before and after implementation of the HCV testing law, the researchers used survey data from clinical laboratories, Medicaid claims and encounter data.
Data from the 106 laboratories that responded with 24 months of records indicated a 51.1% increase in the number of specimens collected for HCV testing from patients born between 1945 to1965, from 538,229 in 2013 to 813,492 in 2014. The average rate of collected specimens per month increased from 404 in 2013 to 1,091 in 2014.
According to New York Medicaid data, the average monthly HCV testing rate for patients born between 1945 and 1965 increased from 8.4 per 1,000 Medicaid clients in 2012 to 8.8 in 2013. Compared with 2012, the HCV testing rate increased by 52% or 12.8 per 1,000 clients by January 2014.
The percentage of patients with newly diagnosed HCV who were linked to care increased by 39.8% (24.1% to 33.7%) in New York and by 11.2% (19.5% to 21.7%) in New York City after implementation of the 2014 testing law, compared with rates between 2011 and 2013.
“This report highlights 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.” – by Talitha Bennett
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.