HRSA Launches Viral Hepatitis Resource Page for Health Centers
Tonya Bowers, MHS, Acting Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesDuring May’s observance of Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched a new viral hepatitis resource page designed to support health centers’ viral hepatitis prevention and care services.
The new web page, Hepatitis: Action Steps and Guidelines for Health Centers, supports viral hepatitis clinical quality improvement among the nation’s nearly 1,300 health centers, which operate more than 9,200 service delivery sites that annually provide healthcare services to nearly 22 million patients. These health centers, which provide high quality preventive and primary health care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay, are vital partners in our national response to viral hepatitis. The hepatitis resource page includes links to materials that can be used by healthcare providers, administrators and program staff, as well as patients. It features guidelines and recommendations on screening, vaccination, and treating patients with hepatitis B and hepatitis C, patient education materials, as well as training resources for clinicians.HRSA collects health center data on hepatitis B and C screening (i.e., number of tests performed) and diagnosis (i.e. number of patient visits with viral hepatitis listed as a diagnosis) through the Uniform Data System. In 2013, HRSA-supported health centers reported that they’d screened 317,647 patients for hepatitis B and provided services to 23,759 patients diagnosed with hepatitis B. That same year, 296,349 patients were screened for hepatitis C and 145,309 patients were diagnosed with hepatitis C.
HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care and Health Center Program stakeholders continue to support the national Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis by screening patients, improving linkage to care and treatment among individuals who are diagnosed, as well as promoting testing of pregnant women for hepatitis B during prenatal care to eliminate mother-to-child transmission.
By making these key resources available on one webpage, HRSA can help improve access to viral hepatitis prevention resources, diagnosis, and treatment for millions of patients.