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SILVER SPRING, MD | June 29, 2016 – The Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI), in partnership with RAND Health, launched a National Hepatitis C Survey to examine the impact of hepatitis C treatment access restrictions on the Medicaid population. The survey, which will be administered by RAND Health is sponsored by AbbVie, and will run through the end of the year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis C virus (HCV) now surpasses HIV as the nation’s deadliest blood-borne disease. Despite new treatments that can cure the virus in most cases, many state Medicaid programs and private insurance plans across the country are barring patients from accessing a cure. The National Hepatitis C Survey will sample a select set of states experiencing a combination of limited medical access and hepatitis C treatment restrictions for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Ivonne Fuller Cameron, President & CEO of HFI stated, “HFI’s mission has been and remains to eradicate viral hepatitis in the United States and abroad. The survey will help us gather the necessary data that will support HFI’s and the broader hepatitis C community’s advocacy efforts to improve access to care and treatment for hepatitis C patients nationwide. We stand committed to increasing awareness and decreasing viral hepatitis rates among the Medicaid population, other vulnerable populations and look forward to moving toward global eradication.”

Hepatitis C treatment innovation has progressed significantly over the last two years, transforming a disease commonly associated with high morbidity and mortality rates to one that is curable. While new hepatitis C cures offer unprecedented hope to patients living with this potentially life-threatening disease, restrictive Medicaid policies have limited patient access to date. State Medicaid plans and commercial payers nationwide have implemented restrictions on these cures, despite calls from public health leaders, medical guideline committees, including the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and even the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand access. Medicaid restrictions on hepatitis C cures are especially concerning for populations in which the virus is most prevalent. According to the CDC, African Americans are twice as likely to be infected as the general population, and within the Latino community, the rate of hepatitis C is 2.6 percent higher than the national average.
The overall goal of the National Hepatitis C Survey is to capture in more detail how Medicaid beneficiaries are being impacted from both a health and economic perspective by these hepatitis C treatment restrictions. In addition, the survey will assist in identifying the factors that are contributing to inadequate care for this patient population. Results from the National Hepatitis C Survey will be released in the Fall of 2016. If you would like to participate in the survey, or to receive additional information, contact HFI at natlhepsurvey@hepatitisfoundation.org.

 

About HFI

The Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization established in 1994 working to eradicate chronic hepatitis for 550 million people globally. HFI is dedicated to increasing and promoting health and wellness; reducing the incidence of preventable liver-related chronic diseases, and lifestyles that negatively impact the liver.  Some of these diseases include: obesity, diabetes, hepatitis, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease and fatty/liver cancer.  The HFI reaches well over 5 million patients and health care professionals annually through our public and private partnerships.

 

About RAND Health

RAND Health is a research division of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that uses research and analysis to help improve policy and decisionmaking. Their mission is to improve overall health and health care around the world focusing on 6 key areas. These 6 areas consist of implementing the Affordable Care Act, paying for care, organizing care, quality of care, healthy populations and communities, and health tools. Rand Health consists of more than 280 experts from multiple disciplines including: physicians, economists, psychologists, mathematicians, organizational analysts, political scientists, psychometricians, medical sociologists, policy analysts, and statisticians.