The Health Department, the Fund for Public Health in New York and five community partners – the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Cornell Medical College, VNSNY Choice and HealthFirst – announced today that they have received a $10 million Health Care Innovation Award from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to focus on hepatitis C (HCV).
Project INSPIRE NYC (Innovate & Network to Stop HCV & Prevent complications via Integrating care, Responding to needs and Engaging patients & providers) aims to achieve:
Better care, by increasing the number of patients starting hepatitis C therapy, strengthening management of behavioral health problems, reducing hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and maintaining a high level of satisfaction among enrollees;
Better health, with increased hepatitis C cure rates, fewer hepatitis C-related complications, and increased screening for depression and alcohol abuse; and
Lower costs, by reducing expenses from preventable hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and complications of hepatitis C infection.
Hepatitis C Facts:
An estimated 146,500 New Yorkers have chronic hepatitis C, though about half do not know that they are infected.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with hepatitis C enters the blood stream of someone who is not infected. Today, people most often become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions.
Most people living with hepatitis C have few symptoms of illness until 10 to 30 years after initial infection, when life-threatening complications can develop. People with hepatitis C are at risk for developing cirrhosis, liver cancer, and other types of liver damage.
Given unprecedented advances in hepatitis C treatment, a cure has become achievable for most. Treatment is now shorter, less toxic, and more effective than in the past.