Month: October 2014

New Age-Based Screening Guidelines

On June 2, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare will cover hepatitis C testing at no cost to beneficiaries whom the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends be screened. Specifically, Medicare will cover a one-time test for beneficiaries who are born from 1945 through 1965 and ongoing tests for those who are at risk. This is an important step forward in the fight against the hepatitis C epidemic and in identifying the 50% -75% of people who don’t know they have hepatitis C.

Medicare has updated its website to include information about this new benefit. The test will be covered only if it is ordered by a primary care doctor.

CMS has also released a “Medicare Learning Network” (MLN) bulletin for medical providers with information about the new benefit, including billing codes.

NVHR recommends that all Medicare beneficiaries who don’t know their hepatitis C status ask their doctor for a test. We also encourage NVHR members to send this information to medical providers who care for Medicare patients so they are aware of this important change in policy….. reprinted from National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.

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Hepatitis C in Corrections

post_PA_2014_sep_octIn the September/October issue of Positively Awaremagazine, Project Inform’s Andrew Reynolds reports on the current state of the hepatitis C epidemic in the US prison system.

“Social policy decisions can have far-reaching effects and unintended consequences. Rrther than taking a public health approach to address illicit drug sue, the US has chosen to deal with this issue by declaring a “war on drugs” beginning in the 1970s. In choosing to incarcerate drug users rather than provide drug treatment and other harm reduction interventions, arrest rates soared, and the US prison population exploded in the decades to follow. Today, the US has the largest population of incarcerated person in the world, with 2.3 million people in jail or prison on any given day.

Another consequence of the war on drugs is lack of access to drug treatment, methadone, maintenance, or needle exchange and other harm reduction services. As a result, the twin epidemics of hepatitis C (HCV) and mass incarceration have grown together hand-in-hand. The sharing of syringes and other injecting equipment are leading causes of HCV infection, accounting for at least 16,000 new infections per year (and likely much more), with a prevalence rate of up to 42% per year. Overall, nearly 56% of people living with chronic HCV have a history of injecting drugs. As HCV and injection drug use are so intimately related, and the war on drugs has led to the arrest of so many people who inject drugs, it follows that prisons and HCV are also deeply connected.”

To see the full article, read pages 35 to 37 of the September/October issue of Positively Aware.

 

this post reposted from project inform.. http://www.projectinform.org

Liver Health Update

Logo Hepmag

New research shows that liver injury caused by herbals and dietary supplements increased from 7% to 20% in a U.S. study group over a ten-year period. According to the study published in Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, liver injury caused by non-bodybuilding supplements is most severe, occurring more often in middle-aged women and more frequently resulting in death or the need for transplantation than liver injury from bodybuilding supplements or conventional medications.”

Nearly half of all adult Americans consume herbal and dietary supplements with prior reports suggesting that is on the rise. Medical evidence shows that supplements are used more often by women, non-Hispanic whites, those over 40 years of age and those with more advanced education. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III indicate that multivitamins, minerals, calcium and fish oils are the most commonly used supplements… read more after the jump