Yesterday, a legal settlement was filed for federal court approval for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that would expand Medicaid coverage for incarcerated Pennsylvanians who have Hepatitis C. This would provide approximately 5,000 incarcerated people known to have hepatitis C with a cure through direct-acting antivirals. As the settlement awaits final approval, a few outlets have covered this news. Read on for links and highlights!
Philly.com: 5,000 inmates with hepatitis C sued Pa. prisons. Now, they’re on their way to getting treatment
“We believe that this settlement, if approved by the court, will be a landmark in medical care in our state prisons and will greatly advance public health in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania [Department of Corrections] has taken an important step in health care that puts them at the forefront of care for people with chronic hep C,” said David Rudovsky, a Philadelphia civil-rights lawyer who filed the lawsuit with the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and the Dechert law firm.
It will, in fact, make access to hepatitis C treatment in Pennsylvania prisons better than what’s available to those on Medicaid in some states.
Treatment, which will begin with the most advanced cases, will extend to everyone with hepatitis C in prison by June 30, 2022, under the agreement.
WHYY: Pa. Department of Corrections to provide costly hepatitis C treatment to nearly 5,000 inmates
Before the settlement, state prison officials already had been extending treatment for prisoners with moderate to serious liver disease. Worden said the state had provided a three month treatment to 650 Pennsylvania inmates struggling with the disease, and is currently treating an additional 105 prisoners. Altogether, that’s about 15 percent of the total affected.
Those inmates already treated include Mumia Abu-Jamal, who’s serving a life sentence for killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Officials, however, stopped short of providing full treatment.
“The problem is, at that point, people are on the verge of death if they’re not treated,” Rudovsky said. “Others who have the disease will quickly get to that point.”