Study: Door-to-door campaign linked hepatitis C patients to care

Effort overcame the many hurdles to specialized treatment for Philadelphia's medically underserved

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- In Philadelphia, as in many cities, neighborhoods with high rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) often also have limited access to screening and treatment. A new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that when expert advocates made a focused effort in a medically underserved area, they were able to help vulnerable patients leap each of the many hurdles that often keep people out of care.

"This study demonstrates the importance of community-based testing for HCV in identifying previously undiagnosed individuals and re-engaging those aware of their diagnosis but not currently in care," Trooskin said. "We learned that a comprehensive approach to nonclinical testing is critical and must integrate immediate access to confirmatory testing as well as intensive patient navigation to effectively link patients to care. Although hepatitis C is now a curable disease, we identified new barriers to care such as the need for a referral to subspecialty care and challenges obtaining medication approval for patients, particularly those covered under Medicaid."

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