HEPATITIS C: Bill Would Create Information Clearinghouse
The San Diego chapter of the American Liver Foundation is sponsoring a bill "that would require the state Department of Health Services to act as a clearinghouse for material about hepatitis C, spreading information to health professionals and the public," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The bill (SB 694) was approved by the state Assembly Health Committee on a 13-0 vote. The move comes as concern increases about hepatitis C, a "silent killer" that can lurk undetected for decades and result in severe liver disease. The Union-Tribune reports that approximately "500,000 Californians are estimated to have hepatitis C, and the number of people suffering from the symptoms of the disease is expected to exceed AIDS patients in the years ahead." The University of California-San Diego's Dr. William Hardison, who is also president of the San Diego chapter of the Liver Foundation, said, "I think it's one of the, of not the, biggest public health threats to our society." The state Department of Health Services, however, is opposing the measure, which it calls an "unfunded mandate." An aide to bill sponsor state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles), "said Polanco hopes to resolve the department's concerns." The bill now goes to the state Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it is not expected to be "heard until after a new state budget is approved this summer" (Mendel, 6/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.