Hepatitis C Bill Awaits Governor's Signature.....would require doctors to provide a hepatitis C screening for patients who are baby boomers - born from 1945 to 1965
"There is established the Hepatitis C Task Force within
the Department of Public Health.....The Task Force shall organize within 120 days following the appointment of a majority of its members and shall select a chairperson and vice-chairperson from among the members"
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois to create the Hepatitis C Task Force. Sets forth the findings and declarations of the General Assembly. Provides that the purpose of the Task Force shall be to (1) develop strategies to identify and address the unmet needs of persons with hepatitis C in order to enhance the quality of life of persons with hepatitis C by maximizing productivity and independence and addressing emotional, social, financial, and vocational challenges of persons with hepatitis C, (2) develop strategies to provide persons with hepatitis C greater access to various treatments and other therapeutic options that may be available, and (3) develop strategies to improve hepatitis C education and awareness. Sets forth provisions concerning membership, meetings, and Task Force assistance and staff support. Provides that the Task Force shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly, along with any legislative bills that it desires to recommend for adoption by the General Assembly, no later than December 31, 2015. Repeals the Section on January 1, 2016. Effective immediately.
CDC Screening Recommendation NOT WORKING says Illinois hepatologist Dr Steve Flamm......
ILLINOIS -- If you were born between 1945 - 1965, doctors say you're at a higher risk for hepatitis C. The CDC says more than three million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the disease. Now, some state lawmakers are trying to make sure you get screened......http://www.illinoishomepage.net/story/d/story/lawmakers-debate-mandatory-hep-c-testing/26257/YFFZHNteuUG6197LSq3hIg
Bill meant to keep Hepatitis C under control passes Illinois general assembly
Posted: Jun 05, 2015 6:15 PM EDT
By Bryant Clerkley, Multimedia Journalist
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -
A bill to keep Hepatitis C under control in Illinois has passed the general assembly and is waiting for the governor's signature but the state's largest doctors' groups are opposing the bill. [from Jules: In NYS the state medical association also opposed the mandatory HCV screening Bill, we fought that & NYS passed the Bill.]
Senate Bill 0661 would require doctors to offer patients born between 1945 and 1965, a Hepatitis C blood test.
Doctors from the Illinois State Medical Society say the test doesn't grantee a patient who does test positive will have access to treatment, which can cost thousands of dollars.
Jon Campos with the Adams County Health Department says the largest demographic of people with Hepatitis C are baby boomers and often times people have no symptoms, so he says the legislation isn't a bad idea.
"If people don't know they have Hepatitis C there's that potential to pass it to someone else, but if we can take that largest demographic and work to find out who they are and prevent them from spreading it then we're gonna go a long way towards preventing it to getting it to other people," Campos said.
If the bill passes it will take effect January 1st.
Illinois doctors group wants Rauner veto on hepatitis C bill
By Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press
Posted Jun. 4, 2015 at 11:38 AM
Updated Jun 4, 2015 at 6:14 PM
CHICAGO - With three out of four Americans who are infected unaware they have hepatitis C, Illinois lawmakers last month approved a measure to fight what's been called a silent epidemic.
The state's largest doctors group is now urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto the bill that would require doctors to offer blood tests for the contagious liver disease to baby boomers - those born between 1945 and 1965. That's been the recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2012.
Doctors don't need lawmakers telling them to follow guidelines, the Illinois State Medical Society insists.
The legislation "intrudes on the physician's judgment and relationship with the patient and doesn't guarantee that patients who do test positive for this liver disease will have access to treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars," said Illinois State Medical Society president Dr. Scott Cooper.
Chicago liver specialist Dr. Steven Flamm supports the bill. He said the measure would raise awareness among the thousands of Illinois baby boomers who carry the virus but don't know it. People can be infected without feeling sick. But hepatitis C infection can lead to liver failure and death. It is a leading cause of liver transplants.
Rauner hasn't said what he'll do.
"The governor will carefully consider any legislation that crosses his desk," Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly wrote in an email.
Very few health screenings are required by Illinois law, and the medical society generally opposes such mandates. HIV testing for pregnant women is required unless the mother refuses; postpartum depression screening for new mothers is encouraged by law.
Outcomes for hepatitis C are improving with new blockbuster drugs improving cure rates, Flamm said. While expensive, the cost of the drugs is starting to decline.
Baby boomers make up the bulk of hepatitis C cases. The virus is spread through contact with the blood of someone who's infected. People who injected drugs are at risk. So, too, is anyone who had a blood transfusion before 1992, when widespread testing of the blood supply began.
Also disproportionately affected are blacks, said Malik Nevels, executive director of the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention, which supports the measure.
"It's not about the doctors. If we focus on the needs of the patients, this legislation is a no-brainer," Nevels said. "This will make people aware of their status and put them on the path to a cure."
The CDC's recommendation hasn't gained traction, Flamm said.
"I have the largest hepatitis C practice in the state," he said. "I have seen very few identified by this screening recommendation."
Flamm, who is chief of liver transplantation at Northwestern Medicine, accepts consulting and research fees from the pharmaceutical industry. He said those financial ties don't influence his views on hepatitis C screening.