Coordinated care has the potential to improve access to treatment for individuals with hepatitis C who are naive to direct-acting antivirals; however, having Medicaid could hamper access, according to a recent study published in PLoS ONE. In this study, an integrated treatment team at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee provided care to hepatitis C patients. In particular, a pharmacist identified “adverse effects that may have led to treatment discontinuation and enabled patients with counseling and adherence tools to ensure treatment completion.” By zeroing in on potential barriers in the cascade of care, the study’s investigators were able to identify specific reasons why patients did not advance through care. 

The takeaways:

  1. “As HCV treatment becomes more streamlined for most patients, shifting HCV treatment from specialty clinics to the primary care setting is an opportunity to improve effective linkage and completion of medical evaluation”
  2. “[to] facilitate initiation and completion of [hepatitis C] treatment, providers should place an emphasis on engaging this population with social workers, case managers, and addiction counselors.”
  3.  “integration of pharmacy services demonstrated high rates of medication access compared to previous studies, even in those with Medicaid.” 

Read the full study here and a summary from Infectious Disease Advisor here.