FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5/29/2015
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
John Maszinski
Office: 312-580-6440
E-mail:johnmaszinski@isms.org
ISMS Opposition to Hepatitis C Screening Mandate
Statement on Senate Bill 661
Attributable to Scott Cooper, MD, ISMS President

Chicago, IL - ISMS opposes any attempts to legislate the practice of medicine in ways that compromise a physician's clinical autonomy, including a mandate to offer Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) screening to patients. Clinical guidelines exist for thousands of conditions and diseases. Codifying any of them into law is a mistake.

In recent years, new advancements for the treatment of Hepatitis C have had a profound impact on patients' lives and cured many patients suffering from HCV. The Illinois State Medical Society supports HCV screening guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. We encourage our members to follow the screening guidelines for appropriate patient populations. Reports of positive HCV tests to the Illinois Department of Public Health increased 29 percent from 2013 to 2014, which indicates physicians are already following the guidelines.

Senate Bill 661 imposes a broad HCV screening mandate. This mandate intrudes on the physician's judgment and relationship with the patient, and doesn't guarantee that patients who do test positive for this liver disease will have access to treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The Illinois State Medical Society urges Governor Rauner to veto S.B. 661.

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Founded in 1840, ISMS is a professional membership association representing Illinois physicians in all medical specialties, and their patients, statewide. Dr. Cooper is an emergency physician practicing in Waukegan.


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