The VA has a high HCV treatment rate — 7 insights into why they're so successful

MedPage published an article examining the reasons behind why the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is so successful in reaching and engaging hepatitis C-infected patients.

Michelle Long, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University, examined the topic for MedPage. She cited a study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Here's what you should know:

1. The VA sees the most HCV-infected patients in the country and "is well on its way to eliminating the disease in its population." From 2014 to 2017, the VA lowered the number of HCV-infected patients from 168,000 to 51,000, treating 30,000 patients annually.

2. The VA is uniquely situated at the center of the HCV fight with its 154 medical centers and 75 ambulatory care and outpatient clinics. The VA emphasizes prevention, screening and universal treatment in care plans, which is the cornerstone of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's plan to eliminate viral hepatitis.

3. The VA also developed its National Hepatitis C Clinical Case Registry, which helps veterans find care.

4. As part of its care strategy, the VA identified it's at-risk populations and as of fall 2017 screened 79.5 percent of its baby boomer and 89.6 percent of its homeless populations, which are both at high risk.

5. Once the high-risk populations were identified, the VA contacted patients through a variety of means. The VA also set up remote screening clinics at its outpatient centers to accommodate some of its patient base.

6.The VA touts one of the highest screening rates when compared to other large U.S. health systems.

7. The VA also offers telemedicine and teleconferencing to initiate HCV treatments.

For more information, click here.

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