N.Y. law requires hepatitis C screening offer for baby boomers

ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill passed by the New York state legislature will require baby boomers visiting healthcare providers to be offered a hepatitis C screening.

The bill, S2750A/A1286, sponsored by Republican state Senate Health Committee chairman Kemp Hannon, was backed by AARP and requires those born between 1945 and 1965 to be offered a screening test. Many baby boomers across the state have hepatitis C without knowing it, and an estimated 200,000 New Yorkers are living with the disease, according to the organization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for such policies last August after finding that baby boomers are at risk for hepatitis C infection, accounting for 75% of the estimated 3.2 million Americans with the disease. Between 45% and 85% of people living with hepatitis C are unaware of it because they have no symptoms, but the disease is contagious and can lead to cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.

The bill passed in New York's state Senate by 63-0 and in the Assembly by 138-1.