Practice Alert: Hepatitis C Testing

On September 16, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that would go in to effect on December 15, 2014, allowing physicians and nurse practitioners to authorize registered nurses, when appropriate, to administer the hepatitis C test to a patient without the need for a patient-specific order. This is an expansion of the law signed by the Governor that began on January 1, 2014, requiring hospitals, free standing diagnostic and treatment centers, clinics and physician offices to offer the Hepatitis C test (HCV) to all persons born between 1945 and 1965 who are receiving in-patient or primary care services by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner providing primary care.

If an individual accepts the offer of the hepatitis C screening test and the screening test is reactive, the healthcare provider must offer the individual follow-up health care or refer the individual to a healthcare provider who can provide follow-up health care.  The follow-up health care must include a hepatitis C diagnostic test. 

The offer of testing must be culturally and linguistically appropriate.

Until December 15, 2014, a registered nurse may offer the hepatitis C test but cannot administer the test without an order from a physician or nurse practitioner for the specific patient to receive the test. 

Under Section 6909 of the Education Law Subdivision 4: A certified nurse practitioner may prescribe and order non-patient specific regimen to a registered professional nurse, for:

a.    Administering immunizations
b.    The emergency treatment of anaphylaxis
c.    Administering purified protein derivative (PPD) tests
d.    Administering tests to determine the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus
e.    Administering tests to determine the presence of the hepatitis C virus (effective beginning December 15, 2014)**


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