CDC Urges Hospitals To Test Emergency Patients for HIV
The majority of hospitals in Los Angeles County are cooperating with CDC recommendations that hospitals offer all emergency department patients an optional HIV test, although some smaller facilities have taken a "wait and see approach" before deciding whether to follow the voluntary guidelines, according to Bernard Branson of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports ("KPCC News," KPCC, 3/8).
CDC recommends that physicians in areas with populations at high risk of HIV offer testing to every patient (California Healthline, 3/2).
Branson said EDs are a good place to offer the tests because they treat many uninsured patients who might not know their HIV status. Some of the hospitals are concerned about receiving reimbursement for the cost of the tests and any potential follow-up care, he said.
Another unresolved issue is whether hospitals must obtain a separate written consent from a patient to test for HIV, he said. Currently, patients are notified that they will be tested for HIV and given the opportunity to decline or ask questions, Branson said ("KPCC News," KPCC, 3/8).
Audio of the segment is available online.