Enabling access to hepatitis C cure for people experiencing homelessness

Thursday, June 2, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:00 PM
Broadway IV (Hilton Portland)
Populations experiencing homelessness suffer disproportionately from hepatitis C (HCV) infection but their access to curative treatment remains low. Access to simple, tolerable, highly effective HCV treatment has been available for almost two years and national guidelines recommend treatment for all infected individuals. Enabling access to this revolutionary treatment for individuals experiencing homelessness should be crucial to the priorities of HCH programs, but there is limited experience in HCH programs with implementing this kind of specialized care. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program's HCV treatment program was initiated in January 2014 to enable access to treatment for the 23 percent of our patients infected. As of October 2015, we have evaluated over 240 individuals and treated 95. The aim of our presentation is to share our team-based approach and discuss strategies and lessons learned for providing this specialty treatment to individuals experiencing homelessness. We will discuss ways in which we utilize the electronic medical record and population management, as well as coordination with outreach sites and office-based buprenorphine treatment to enable success for vulnerable individuals. We will share outcomes from our experience, engaging audience members in discussion around challenges to implementing HCV treatment in their own sites.
Marguerite Beiser, NP (Director of HCV Services, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program)
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