Letters of support are needed immediately for HCV Testing Bill.
Feel free to copy and paste from Harm Reduction Coalition’s letter (below) and put it on your organization’s letter head and forward it to Hadiyah Charles firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: (212) 213-6582.
Or Contact: Matt Curtis, Policy Director – VOCAL New York (email@example.com ) 646-234-9062
Letter of Support
NYS Hep C Testing in Hospitals Bill (A01286 or S02750) or (A10595-2011) – As of 4/30/13: passed in the Health Committee & is in Finance Committee.
An ACT to amend public health law, in relation to requiring hospitals to offer hepatitis C testing
This bill would amend New York’s Public Health Law by adding a new section 2171 to offer hepatitis C related testing to every individual born between the years of nineteen hundred forty-five and nineteen hundred sixty-five who receives health services as in patient or in the emergency department of a general hospital, or who receives primary care services in an outpatient department of an hospital or in a diagnostic and treatment center licensed under article 28 or from a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner providing primary care shall offer hepatitis related test. The bill stipulates that a HCV test would not be offered if the practitioner providing such services reasonably believes that: the individual is being treated for a life threatening emergency or the individual has previously been offered or has been the subject of a hepatitis C related test or the individual lacks the capacity to consent to a hepatitis C related test.
People born from 1945 through 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C. Liver disease, liver cancer and deaths from Hepatitis C are on the rise. Of the estimated 3.2 million Americans with chronic hepatitis infection, about half of them don’t know it, according to the CDC. Chronic hepatitis C is most common in “baby boomers” — about two thirds of U.S. infections are in people born between 1945 and 1964.
The majority of New Yorkers with chronic hepatitis C remain undiagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommend a one-time testing of all Baby Boomers for hepatitis C. New York City is the epicenter of the hepatitis C epidemic, with nearly 200,000 residents chronically infected – more than any other city in the United States. Since 2007, hepatitis C-related deaths now surpass annual AIDS mortality, accounting for at least 15,000 deaths nationwide each year according to CDC.
The vast majority of people with hepatitis C do not know they have it and are at greatly increased risk for advanced liver disease, liver cancer, and death. According to the CDC, if everyone born between 1945 and 1965 was tested, over 800,000 cases would be identified, and up to 121,000 deaths could be avoided.
Conservative estimates suggest 300,000 New Yorkers have ever been infected with hepatitis C, of whom at least 190,000 remain chronically infected. The first step in addressing hepatitis C is to diagnose all New Yorkers infected. New York needs an answer to the Hepatitis C epidemic. Screening all baby boomers could be one of many ways to stem the epidemic in the greater New York City metro area (including Long Island) and across New York State.
Harm Reduction Coalition is calling for passage during May – Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month and signed into law by Governor Cuomo prior to National Testing Day on May 19, 2013. The Harm Reduction Coalition is a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. We respectfully request your support of this legislation.