Hepatitis C Screening of Baby Boomers: PA Act 87 – Ordering the Correct Lab Test


by Pradeep  Bhagat, M.D., Director MLH Pathology and Deb Laumer, Director MLH Clinical Informatics


As you know, PA Act 87 was signed into law July 20, 2016, requiring health care providers to offer Hepatitis C screening to Baby Boomers (born 1945-1965). Recently implemented at MLH hospitals, a question on the SmartChart nursing admission assessment enables nursing to screen eligible patients and then notify the provider to order a Hepatitis C Antibody lab test to qualifying patients who request it.


The correct screening test to order is the Hepatitis C Antibody lab test.  Some providers have erroneously ordered the Hep C Antibody, Medicare Screen Only lab test.

  • Hep C Antibody, Medicare Screen Only is a coverage test for Medicare patients born between 1945 to 1965, to be ordered by a health care provider in a primary care setting, and therefore is not applicable for hospitalized patients.



Patient results that are reactive to Hepatitis C Antibody are treated by lab as a Critical Value.  The state requires that if a patient’s screening test is reactive, the health care provider shall either:

  • offer the individual follow-up health care, or
  • refer the individual to a health care provider who can provide follow-up health care.


The follow-up health care shall include a Hepatitis C diagnostic test.

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