Today's Law As Amended


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SB-1303 Public health: hepatitis C.(2013-2014)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 122405 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

122405.
 (a)  The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a)  (1)  Hepatitis C is classified as a silent killer, where no recognizable signs or symptoms occur until severe liver damage has occurred.
(b)  (2)  Hepatitis C has been characterized by the World Health Organization as a disease of primary concern to humanity.
(c)  (3)  Studies indicate that 1.8 percent of the population, nearly 4 million Americans, carry the virus HCV that causes hepatitis C. In California, as many as 500,000 individuals may be carriers and could develop the debilitating and potentially deadly liver disease associated with hepatitis C in their lifetime. An expert panel, convened in March by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), estimated that 30,000 acute new infections occur each year in the United States, and only 25 to 30 percent of those are diagnosed. Current data sources indicate that 8,000 to 10,000 Americans die from hepatitis C each year.
(d)  (4)  Studies also indicate that 39.4 percent of male inmates and 54.5 percent of female inmates in California correctional facilities have hepatitis C, 26 times higher than the general population. Upon their release from prison, these inmates present a significant health risk to the general population of California.
(5) Hepatitis C is the most common bloodborne pathogen in the United States, and is a leading cause of complications from chronic liver disease.
(6) According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.7 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis C, which is almost 1 percent of the entire population of the United States.
(7) Hepatitis C infections are most common among individuals born between 1945 and 1965, commonly known as the baby boomers.
(8) Hepatitis C infections have reached epidemic levels, especially in underrepresented communities.
(9) Up to 75 percent of individuals infected with hepatitis C do not know they are infected, and are therefore not connected to any source of care or treatment.
(10) In June 2013, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all high risk individuals and anyone born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for hepatitis C. In making this recommendation, the United States Preventive Services Task Force cited evidence that early screening and detection can lead to improved clinical outcomes.
(b) Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature to do both of the following:
(e)  (1)  It is the intent of the Legislature to study the  Study the  adequacy of the health care delivery system as it pertains to hepatitis C.
(f)  (2)  It is the intent of the Legislature to urge the  Urge the  department to make funds available to community-based nonprofit organizations for education and outreach with respect to the hepatitis C virus.

SEC. 2.

 Section 122407 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

122407.
 (a) Every qualifying individual who receives medical care from a health care practitioner shall be offered a hepatitis C screening test or hepatitis C diagnostic test, unless the health care practitioner providing those services reasonably believes that any one of the following applies:
(1) The individual is being treated for a life-threatening emergency.
(2) The individual has previously been offered a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test, or has been the subject of a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test, unless the individual is a person described in clause (ii), (v), (vii), or (viii) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (e).
(3) The individual lacks capacity to consent to a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test.
(b) If an individual consents to a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test and the test is positive or reactive, the health care practitioner shall either offer followup health care or refer the individual to a health care practitioner who can provide followup health care. The followup health care shall include a hepatitis C diagnostic test.
(c) The offering of a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test pursuant to this section shall be culturally and linguistically appropriate. The director shall issue guidance on the culturally and linguistically appropriate offering of a test by July 1, 2015.
(d) This section does not affect the scope of practice of a health care practitioner or diminish the authority, legal, or professional obligation of a health care practitioner to offer a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test, or to provide services or care for the subject of a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test.
(e) As used in this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) “Health care practitioner” means a physician, surgeon, or any other health care provider licensed to order a hepatitis C screening test or hepatitis C diagnostic test.
(2) “Hepatitis C diagnostic test” means any laboratory test or tests that detects the presence of the hepatitis C virus in the blood and provides confirmation of whether the individual has a hepatitis C virus infection.
(3) “Hepatitis C screening test” means an FDA-approved laboratory screening test, FDA-approved rapid point-of-care test, or other FDA-approved test that detects the presence of hepatitis C antibodies in the blood.
(4) “Qualifying individual” means any of the following:
(i) A person born between the years of 1945 and 1965.
(ii) A current or former user of an injection drug.
(iii) A recipient of a blood transfusion, blood product, or organ transplant before 1992.
(iv) A recipient of a blood clotting product before 1987.
(v) An individual who has liver disease or has had abnormal liver test results.
(vi) A hemodialysis patient.
(vii) A health care worker who may be exposed to needle sticks.
(viii) An individual who is infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
(f) This section does not apply to an individual receiving health care from a health care practitioner in a hospital or emergency room setting.