CMS Approves HBV Screening in Primary Care Settings
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CMS Approves HBV Screening in Primary Care Settings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to conclude that screening for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) infection, consistent with the grade A and B recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), is reasonable and necessary for the prevention or early detection of an illness or disability and is appropriate for individuals entitled to benefits under Part A or enrolled under Part B, as described below.

Therefore, CMS will cover screening for HBV infection with the appropriate U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved/cleared laboratory tests, used consistent with FDA approved labeling and in compliance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) regulations, when ordered by the beneficiary’s primary care physician or practitioner within the context of a primary care setting, and performed by an eligible Medicare provider for these services, for beneficiaries who meet either of the following conditions.

  1. A screening test is covered for asymptomatic, nonpregnant adolescents and adults at high risk for HBV infection. “High risk” is defined as persons born in countries and regions with a high prevalence of HBV infection (i.e., ≥ 2%), US-born persons not vaccinated as infants whose parents were born in regions with a very high prevalence of HBV infection (i.e., ≥ 8%), HIV-positive persons, men who have sex with men, injection drug users, household contacts or sexual partners of persons with HBV infection. In addition, CMS has determined that repeated screening would be appropriate annually only for beneficiaries with continued high risk (i.e., men who have sex with men, injection drug users, household contacts or sexual partners of persons with HBV infection) who do not receive hepatitis B vaccination.

  2. A screening test at the first prenatal visit is covered for pregnant women and then rescreening at time of delivery for those with new or continuing risk factors. In addition, CMS has determined that screening during the first prenatal visit would be appropriate for each pregnancy, regardless of previous hepatitis B vaccination or previous negative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) test results.

The determination of “high risk for HBV” is identified by the primary care physician or practitioner who assesses the patient’s history, which is part of any complete medical history, typically part of an annual wellness visit and considered in the development of a comprehensive prevention plan. The medical record should be a reflection of the service provided.

For the purposes of this decision memorandum, a primary care setting is defined by the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community. Emergency departments, inpatient hospital settings, ambulatory surgical centers, independent diagnostic testing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, clinics providing a limited focus of health care services, and hospice are examples of settings not considered primary care settings under this definition.

For the purposes of this decision memorandum, a “primary care physician” and “primary care practitioner” will be defined consistent with existing sections of the Social Security Act (§1833(u)(6), §1833(x) (2)(A)(i)(I) and §1833(x)(2)(A)(i)(II)). §1833(u)

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Click here to download the CMS Decision Memo