Simplified hepatitis C testing and linkage to care in addiction recovery and community correctional facilities model of care


Author: Kathi Scholz, Kweilynn Greene

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2023

The rates of people who inject drugs (PWID) and people who use drugs (PWUD) has increased tremendously over the last few decades. Many of these people have entered substance abuse treatment clinics, Inpatient or Outpatient rehabilitation, or found themselves incarcerated or mandated into alternate incarceration treatment facilities. These facilities give us a unique opportunity for testing and linkage to care in this population.

Our outreach workers travel to these treatment & correctional facilities each day and offer HCV, HIV, & STD education as well as rapid point-of-care screening for HCV & HIV, and STD screening (results available in 1-2 days). Antibody positive people are offered an on-site confirmatory blood draw, and a telemedicine visit with a nurse practitioner. We then follow up with the client within 10 days to review labs, order the appropriate medication, and complete a prior authorization. After insurance approval, our partner specialty pharmacies courier or ship these medications to the client. We do not require lab monitoring until SVR 12 unless otherwise necessary. 

In 2021, we screened over 5,700 people in more than 174 facilities across Pennsylvania & Southeast Ohio and cured over 1600 of their HCV. Since 2017, the Hep C Cure Squad has found a 46.25% HCV positivity rate, screening over 14,500 people, and curing over 4,200.

Meeting this community where they are, making this treatment accessible to all, and following a simplified monitoring approach, when appropriate, will go a long way to reaching WHO elimination goals. 

1 Central Outreach Wellness Center, Viral Hepatitis, HIV, Addiction & Sexual Health Medicine

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