Springfield, IL … In an effort to continue to bring the “Silent Epidemic” into the forefront, State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) advanced legislation out of the House that would provide individuals born between the years of 1945 and 1965 with the opportunity to be tested for Hepatitis C. The measure would require physicians to offer the screening to patients who are part of the at-risk group.
“Nearly seventy-five percent of those living with Hepatitis C are unaware that they are infected with the virus. Those unknowingly infected has reached such a staggering amount because of the lack of awareness in both patients and the medical community,” explained Rep. McAuliffe. “The major at-risk group, our Baby Boomers, have not had appropriate access to screening opportunities which could have life-saving implications.”
The provisions of the measure originate from recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and apply only to the specified age cohort. Patients who are members of the at-risk group are not required to be tested for Hepatitis C, however they must be offered the opportunity to be screened by their physician. Hepatitis C screening can be completed via a routine blood or finger-prick test. The measure would sunset in 2020 giving those at-risk groups ample time to receive proper testing.
“This is a simple bill that has a large impact in bringing medical attention to an at-risk group living unknowingly with a potentially fatal virus,” continued McAuliffe. “There is no fiscal impact as these screenings are already covered by Health and Family Services and giving our Baby Boomers an opportunity to have a better grasp on their health just makes common sense.”
In passing both bodies of the General Assembly, the legislation now will be sent to the Governor to await his signature.