On July 20, 2016, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Hepatitis C Screening Act (Act 87 of 2016) into law.
The Act, which took effect on Sept. 18, 2016, requires each individual born between 1945 and 1965, who receives health services as an inpatient in a hospital or who receives primary care services in an outpatient department of a hospital, health care facility, or physician's office, to be offered a hepatitis C screening test or hepatitis C diagnostic test.
The individual is not required to accept the test. However, if the individual consents to the test, and the screening test is reactive, the health care provider must either offer the individual follow-up health care or refer the individual to a health care provider who can provide follow-up care. The follow-up care must include a hepatitis C diagnostic test.
There are exceptions under Act 87. A health care practitioner is not required to provide the services if he or she reasonably believes at least one of the following:
- The individual is being treated for a life-threatening emergency.
- The individual has previously been offered or has been the subject of a hepatitis C screening test.
- The individual lacks capacity to consent to a hepatitis C screening test.
What Does This Mean for Physicians and Other Health Care Providers?
It is highly recommended that parties subject to these requirements review the law and develop policies for compliance. These policies should include thorough recordkeeping, including situations where an individual refuses to take a test and situations where the individual is referred for follow-up care to another health care provider.
PAMED's Quick Consult on Pennsylvania's Hepatitis C Screening Act contains answers to FAQs from physicians concerning this law.
Please be advised that these answers in the below Quick
Consult are interpretations of Act 87 and are not meant to constitute legal
advice from PAMED. It is highly recommended that any physician or organization
consult with their own legal counsel concerning the requirements of Act 87.
Get the Quick Consult