The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable has released a new fact sheet about the urgency of hepatitis C screening for baby boomers. The majority of people living with and dying from hepatitis C are baby boomers, yet most of them remain undiagnosed and unaware of their infection. Because many baby boomers have lived with hepatitis C for 20 to 40 years, liver-related complications, including liver cancer, liver failure, and liver-related deaths are expected to peak in the next decade.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the CDC agree that everyone born during 1945 – 1965 should be tested once for hepatitis C. The health care system and federal, state, and local governments have a responsibility to ensure that these recommendations are implemented. The best way to reduce the likelihood that someone will develop severe complications of hepatitis C is to cure the infection.
NVHR’s one page and two page fact sheets outline the urgency of action now to screen, identify, treat, and cure people living with hepatitis C. Recommendations for expanding hepatitis C testing among Baby Boomers, and resources that NVHR’s program include the following:
- Health care systems should integrate hepatitis C testing into their Electronic Health Records. A baby boomer prompt is fast and easy for doctors and can be as simple as adding one additional test on a lab slip, and then the prompt goes away. View: EHR prompts
- Private insurers should encourage medical providers in their health plans to test baby boomer patients for hepatitis C. View: Coverage and coding and billing
- The federal government should educate medical providers, particularly those serving Medicare beneficiaries, about the USPSTF and CDC recommendations that everyone born from 1945-1965 receive a one-time hepatitis C test. View: Provider training