Hospitals and health service providers in New York State will be required to offer a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test for baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965.
The move aims to better protect baby boomers from Hepatitis C, an infectious disease affecting the liver, according to a new law signed Wednesday by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"Hepatitis C is a debilitating and potentially fatal disease that disproportionately affects the baby boomer generation in New York and nationwide," Cuomo said.
"This new law will help fight Hepatitis C and keep New Yorkers safe by providing testing to those most likely to have this virus whenever they visit a medical facility."
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 percent of Hepatitis C infection and about 73 percent of Hepatitis C-associated mortality occurs in individuals born between 1945 and 1965.
New York State Department of Health statistics show that as many as 150,000 New Yorkers are unaware of their Hepatitis C status.
The new law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, will ensure that all individuals born between 1945 and 1965 are offered a hepatitis C screening test or diagnostic test whenever they are a patient at a hospital, clinic or a physician's office.