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June 26, 2018

Hospital Stays Involving Hepatitis C on the Rise

July 26 is World Hepatitis Day

Adult hospital stays involving only hepatitis C increased 48.9 percent between 2005 and 2014. Hospital stays involving hepatitis C increased the most (67 percent) amongst "Baby Boomers"-- ages 52 to 72 -- during this period.

Average costs, length of stay, and the proportion of in-hospital deaths in 2014 were all higher for stays involving hepatitis C than for stays without hepatitis C. The proportion of in-hospital deaths was 41 percent higher for stays involving hepatitis C only than for stays without hepatitis C. You can access the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #232External Website to learn more about this trend.

Hepatitis C is spread through the hepatitis C virus (HCV), reported to be the leading cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, as well as liver cancer, and a primary indication for liver transplant in the United States. The spread of HCV can be prevented through proper detection and treatment.

Did you know?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Medicare pays for HCV screening in adult Medicare beneficiaries who fall into at least one of the following categories:

  • High risk for HCV infection
  • Born between 1945 and 1965
  • Had a blood transfusion before 1992

Hepatitis C is an infection that attacks the liver and is a major cause of chronic liver disease. Inflammation over long periods of time can cause cirrhosis. A cirrhotic liver fails to perform the normal functions of the liver which leads to liver failure. Cirrhotic livers are more prone to become cancerous and liver failure leads to serious complications, even death.

You can view details for coding and billing for HCV screenings hereExternal Website.

For more information, refer to the Medicare Learning Network® (MLN) Matters® article MM8871 -- Screening for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in AdultsExternal PDF.

This document was developed through the A/B Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) Provider Outreach & Education (POE) Collaboration Team. This joint effort ensures consistent communication and education throughout the nation on a variety of topics and will assist the provider and physician community with information necessary to submit claims appropriately and receive proper payment in a timely manner.

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