Eliminating hepatitis C
The Health Care Authority (HCA) is partnering with the Department of Health (DOH) and AbbVie US LLC, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, in an effort to eliminate hepatitis C (HCV) in Washington State by 2030.
AbbVie was awarded the state contract because they provided the best overall portfolio and offer a product that treats about 97 percent of all patients with HCV.
HCA, DOH and AbbVie are coordinating efforts to find individuals who are not yet treated; educate the health care workforce about screening and providing curative HCV treatment; and address barriers to care such as stigma, access to HCV providers, and the lack of urgency to treat among patients and providers.
In order to achieve HCV elimination in Washington State, DOH convened partners and stakeholders to develop the Hep C Free Washington plan. These include:
- People affected by HCV
- Local health jurisdictions
- Tribal Nations
- Medical providers
- Others with an interest in HCV elimination
Action! This is a huge opportunity to rid our state of the most common blood borne disease in the United States – and now it is possible.
Effective immediately, we would like all providers licensed to treat HCV to screen and treat the target population. In order to support our provider community in this monumental effort, HCA has made important policy changes:
- The antiviral Mavyret™ will no longer require prior authorization (PA). Other direct-acting antivirals will require review and will be approved only when Mavyret™ is not clinically appropriate.
- Anyone licensed to prescribe direct acting antiviral medications is allowed to screen and treat Apple Health (Medicaid) members to support this effort.
HCA and AbbVie will deploy an HCV elimination awareness bus to areas of Washington State with high-risk HCV populations. This strategy is part of a national program to educate the population about the importance of screening and linkage to care. When a person visits the bus, they are able to get hep C antibody testing to determine if they may have the virus. Currently, the bus is scheduled to make the following appearances in 2020.
Date and time
January 30, 2020
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
9th Annual Spokane Homeless Connect
Spokane Convention Center
February 13 - 16, 2020
Begins daily at 5 a.m
2020 Seattle/King County Clinic
Tickets distributed at 5 a.m.
Hepatitis C (HCV) is the most common blood borne disease in the United States. Between 75 and 85 percent of people infected with HCV develop chronic HCV.
Chronic HCV is a lifelong virus that can cause severe scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver, liver cancer, the need for a liver transplant, and even death. The death toll from HCV continues to rise, tied to the opioid epidemic and the rise in drug injection.
Currently, about 60,000 Washingtonians are living with HCV. Approximately 30,000 are covered by state-purchased health care, including:
- Washington Apple Health
- The Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program
- The Department of Corrections (DOC)
- The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I)
- The Department of Social & Health Services (State hospitals)
HCV is curable and elimination is possible. Elimination is a state where HCV is no longer a public health threat, and where those few who become infected quickly learn their status and receive curative treatment, preventing the forward spread of the virus.