National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
|Shelly Rodrigues, CAE, FACEHP
California Academy of Family Physicians
415-345-8667, ext 228
In Honor of World Hepatitis Day Organizations in California Launch Campaign to Encourage Primary Care Clinicians to Screen Patients for Hepatitis C
(San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2015) – Today the California Academy of Family Physicians, California Hepatitis Alliance (a program of Project Inform) and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable launch the “California Hepatitis C Clinicians’ Honor Roll” campaign. The Honor Roll recognizes clinicians who sign a pledge to screen their adult patients for hepatitis C in accordance with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines. To view the USPSTF hepatitis C screening guidelines, visit: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshepc.htm
According to the California Department of Public Health, 750,000 Californians are living with hepatitis C. Because this contagious liver disease often remains asymptomatic for years and many providers and patients commonly overlook testing, the vast majority of individuals are unaware that they are infected.
Karen Smith, MD, MPH, Director of the California Department of Public Health notes, “The best tools we have to reduce the human and economic costs of hepatitis C in California are to prevent new infections, screen people at risk, and link those who are infected to care.”
The USPSTF recommends hepatitis C screening for:
- Adults born between 1945 through 1965
- Anyone with past or current history of injecting drugs
- Anyone who received a blood transfusion before 1992
- Long-term hemodialysis patients
- Anyone born to a mother infected with hepatitis C
- Anyone with a history of incarceration
- Anyone with past or current history of intranasal drug use (snorting drugs)
- Anyone who has received a tattoo from an unregulated source
- Anyone with other percutaneous exposures to blood
“Hepatitis C is a devastating disease. Unfortunately, the majority of people with hepatitis C do not even know they are infected,” states Ron Chapman, MD, MPH, family physician and past director and state health officer for the California Department of Public Health. ”Family doctors, primary care, and other physicians and care team members have a critical role to play to identify these people and save their lives.”
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of catastrophic liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver transplants, and hepatocellular carcinoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States. While the virus remain undetected, causing potentially life-threatening liver damage, individuals can unknowingly transmit the disease to others. California clinicians can stop this silent epidemic.
This Honor Roll campaign is conducted in partnership with the California Academy of Physician Assistants Foundation, California Department of Public Health, California Medical Association Foundation, Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations and San Francisco Medical Society.
For more information about the Honor Roll campaign, visit http://www.familydocs.org/world-hepatitis-c-day-july-28
The California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) is the only organization solely dedicated to advancing the specialty of family medicine in the state. Since 1948, CAFP has championed the cause of family physicians and their patients. CAFP is critically important to primary care. With a strong collective voice of more than 9,200 family physician, family medicine resident and medical student members, the CAFP is the largest primary care medical society in California and the largest chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians. We focus on family physicians’ professional challenges and health policy concerns through advocacy and education to expand access to high-quality and cost-effective patient care for California. We are committed to helping family physicians improve their everyday practice lives by offering affordable evidence-based continuing medical education, providing cost-saving practice management resources, delivering practical approaches to practice transformation, and fostering opportunities to promote the family medicine specialty and ensure a strong and healthy primary care pipeline. For more information about CAFP, visit www.familydocs.org.
Founded in 2006, the California Hepatitis Alliance (CalHEP), a program of Project Inform (www.projectinform.org), is an alliance of more than 100 organizations dedicated to reducing the scope and consequences of the hepatitis B and C epidemics, which disproportionately affect California’s ethnic communities and the socioeconomically underserved. CalHEP includes among its membership public health organizations, community-based organizations, clinics and health care agencies, county hepatitis task forces, and others committed to viral hepatitis prevention, care, advocacy, and education. Committed to culturally competent public education and awareness, CalHEP’s work focuses on advocating for sound policies; promoting evidence-based education; and broadening access to services. For more information about CalHEP, visit www.calhep.org.
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) is a broad coalition working to fight, and ultimately end, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C epidemics. We seek an aggressive response from policymakers, public health officials, medical and health care providers, the media, and the general public through our advocacy, education, and technical assistance. NVHR believes an end to the hepatitis B and C epidemics is within our reach and can be achieved through addressing stigma and health disparities, removing barriers to prevention, care and treatment, and ensuring respect and compassion for all affected communities. For more information about NVHR, visit www.nvhr.org.