The Veteran Service Organization (VSO) community has been pleased and even relieved to see several new drugs come onto the market over the past two years that can now cure most veterans who were unknowingly infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) during the course of their military service. Congress responded quickly and generously to the Department of Veterans Affairs’) (VA) requests for emergency supplemental appropriations to allow the department to offer these new life-saving and long-term cost-saving treatments to veterans infected with HCV.
In fact, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) provided $200 million above and beyond the VA’s initial request for FY2015 supplemental funding for veterans’ HCV treatments, and we remain highly optimistic that the final VA appropriation, whether as a stand-alone bill or as part of an omnibus, will now reflect an even greater level of investment in treating and curing veterans with HCV in light of the recent budget deal.
Throughout the course of 2015, the veteran community has been pleased to see VA patient data reflect an increasingly aggressive approach to treating HCV within the veteran population. In fact, as we neared the end of the fiscal year in September, the VA was treating up to 1,700 new veterans each week for HCV infection.