National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Observes World Hepatitis Day and Calls for Increased Federal Action
Greater Investments in Public Health a Must
Federal Leadership Needed to Focus Policy Actions at the Federal Level
Viral hepatitis afflicts more than five million Americans, making an undeniable case for investment in screening and treatment today to prevent a catastrophe tomorrow. Chronic viral hepatitis is the leading cause of primary liver cancer, which is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. and the 8th leading cause of cancer death in Caucasians and the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in Asian Americans.
An actuarial analysis released yesterday found that 78% of Americans with hepatitis C do not know they carry the virus. The cost of advanced liver disease in HCV-infected patients will skyrocket 250 percent from today, reaching
While the situation is serious, Congress and the Administration can take concrete steps to avert a worst-case scenario. But action is needed urgently. There are two things the federal government can do immediately to address the situation.
First, increase funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from its current level of
Second, appoint a senior member of the staff of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to focus on coordination of viral hepatitis efforts across federal agencies. This would include ensuring screening programs are available nationwide and care and support programs are available for persons living with chronic viral hepatitis. This position would also serve as a resource to ensure viral hepatitis needs are adequately included in the details of the Administration’s health care reform package. Currently, there is no federally funded hepatitis awareness campaign, hepatitis B or C counseling and testing program, chronic hepatitis surveillance system, adult hepatitis A and B vaccination program, linkage to care system for persons infected with hepatitis B or C, or treatment program for un/underinsured Americans.
“Increased funding through the CDC and other federal health agencies can ease the economic and health-related burdens of viral hepatitis,” said
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (www.nvhr.org) is a coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of infection, morbidity, and mortality from viral hepatitis in
The report, Consequences of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): A Baby Boomer Epidemic of Liver Disease, is available: [http://www.milliman.com/expertise/healthcare/publications/rr/consequences-hepatits-c-virus-RR05-15-09.php]
SOURCE National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable