Friday, October 27, 2017

Why the VA is so Successful Tackling HCV

Why the VA is so Successful Tackling HCV
by Pippa Wysong
Contributing Writer, MedPage Today

VA experts tell how they get high-risk patients engaged, nationally
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a leader in its ability to reach hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients and engage them in care. Here, the secrets to its success are laid bare.

According to a recent paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the VA is the country's largest care-provider for HCV-infected patients and is well on its way to eliminating the disease in its population.

As of July 2017, a total of 51,000 veterans remain potentially eligible for treatment, a significant drop from more than 168,000 only 3 years ago. The number of people infected is decreasing by an estimated 30,000 per year...
Read the article at... MedPage Today

Expert Critique
Michelle Long
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology
Boston University School of MedicineBoston, MA
With the success of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medication for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV), the challenges now are in linking patients with hepatitis C to care. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been very successful in treating patients infected with HCV, and the number of people infected within the VA care system is decreasing by about 30,000 people per year. The VA is well suited to treat HCV since it has a single integrated, electronic health record and a large case registry to link patients to care. Using these systems, the VA is able to screen high-risk populations and monitor disease incidence and prevalence. Patients who were eligible for screening were reached via letters or phone calls or through partnerships with shelters. The VA also has utilized care-delivery teams that personalize care delivery to different clinical settings and allowed outreach to patients in remote locations. The VA also was able to place DAA medications on the formulary, which lowered costs and allowed better access to medications.

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