CDC recommended screening all adults for a hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection at least once in their life, shifting from a risk-based approach to a universal approach, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Mississippi.
- District of Columbia: Last week, DC Health Link — the online marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act for members of Congress and Washington, D.C. residents — was hacked. Both the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the data breach, which potentially impacted hundreds of lawmakers and staff. On Wednesday, Catherine Szpindor, chief administrative officer for the House of Representatives, in a message to staffers said the size and scope of the attack were not yet known. However, she noted that it did not appear that the attack specifically targeted members of the House. "Speaker McCarthy and Democratic Leader Jeffries have formally requested additional information from DC Health Link on what data was taken, who was impacted, and what steps they are taking to protect House victims of this breach," the message said. (Miller, Politico, 3/8; Reed/Solender, Axios, 3/8; Broadwater, New York Times, 3/8)
- Georgia: In a new report, CDC recommended screening all adults for an HBV infection at least once in their life and suggested periodic retesting for a wider range of adults — a move that marks a shift from a risk-based approach to a universal approach. The move is part of an effort to increase awareness of HBV infections and decrease the prevalence of chronic disease and premature death. "Overall, risk-based testing has been insufficient to identify persons with HBV infection in the United States and has been a barrier to appropriately screening populations with a disproportionate prevalence of disease," Erin Conners of CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, and colleagues wrote in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, screening should be triple-panel, including HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to them (anti-HBs), and total hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc). "A one-time HBV screening of adults would be complementary to the 2022 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation to vaccinate all adults aged 19-59 years for HBV infection because screening establishes any history of infection, and vaccination protects from future infection and need for additional testing," Conners and colleagues added. (Hein, MedPage Today, 3/9)
- Mississippi: The Mississippi state legislature on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill that will provide one year of Medicaid coverage to low-income new mothers, marking the culmination of a two-year push to expand postpartum coverage in one of the poorest states. Republicans that support the measure said the change became necessary after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. Rep. Missy McGee (R-Miss.) noted that women's health issues should not be used as "political chess pieces." According to McGee, "[t]his reflects a policy and legislative effort that has been ongoing for several years now." She added, "And this year, as we find ourselves in a post-Dobbs era, the need exists to both strengthen the social safety net and modernize our approach for helping our state's most vulnerable citizens." (Goldberg, Associated Press, 3/7)