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NVHR Applauds USPSTF Hepatitis B Screening Recommendations
On May 27, 2014, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its final recommendations on hepatitis B screening of non-pregnant adolescents and adults. You can read the recommendations, including a consumer fact sheet, here.
The USPSTF now recommends, with a “B” grade, testing everyone who is at high risk for hepatitis B infection. The USPSTF defines high risk as those born in countries with 2% or greater prevalence of hepatitis B, those born in the United States who were not vaccinated against hepatitis B in infancy and whose parents were born in a country with a high prevalence of hepatitis B, persons who inject drugs, HIV positive individuals, gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, and household contacts or sexual partners of those who have hepatitis B infection.
NVHR strongly supports these new recommendations and thanks the USPSTF for its thoughtful process and for recognizing the urgency in identifying those who have chronic hepatitis B infection so they can be linked to care and treatment. We also thank our partners at Hep B United, the Hepatitis B Foundation, and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) for their leadership in ensuring that the USPSTF received broad community input as it developed its final recommendations.
USPSTF recommendations are extremely important as they increase awareness, influence medical providers, and ensure that recommended services are covered by most private and public payers. Under the Affordable Care Act, any preventive service with an “A” or “B” grade must be covered with no copayment by most private insurers and by all expanded Medicaid programs. Additionally, if Medicare offers the service, it also must be free of charge to the patient.
NVHR looks forward to working with our advocacy partners and our members to ensure implementation of these new recommendations, along with the USPSTF hepatitis C testing recommendations released last year, throughout public and private health care programs. Please look for updates and information about how you can help.
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