On World Hepatitis Day, NYC Health + Hospitals Expands Its Hepatitis C Navigation Program to Three New Hospital Sites to Address Patient Need
The Hepatitis C Navigator program will now be at nine NYC Health + Hospital facilities, which reflect areas of greatest need Navigators improve Hepatitis C screening, connect patients to care, and support individuals until they are cured, with the ultimate goal of ending the Hepatitis C epidemic in the city Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to life threatening liver damage; medication advances in the last 10 years have made Hepatitis C a curable disease
The Hepatitis C Navigator program will now be at nine NYC Health + Hospital facilities, which reflect areas of greatest need
Navigators improve Hepatitis C screening, connect patients to care, and support individuals until they are cured, with the ultimate goal of ending the Hepatitis C epidemic in the city
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to life threatening liver damage; medication advances in the last 10 years have made Hepatitis C a curable disease
Jul 28, 2023
New York, NY
NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that it had expanded its Hepatitis C navigator program from six to nine hospitals, allowing the health system to test more patients, connect them to lifesaving treatment, and support them until they are cured. The three new sites are NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, Metropolitan, and Woodhull, complementing the six existing sites: NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, Elmhurst, Jacobi, Kings County, South Brooklyn Health, and Gotham Health/Gouverneur. The program treats all patients with Hepatitis C, including three populations that are disproportionately affected: people with a substance use disorder diagnosis, people who are incarcerated or recently released from incarceration, and people living with HIV. Today treatment advances can cure Hepatitis C in as little as 8 to 12 weeks. Across New York City newly reported cases of Hepatitis C have been decreasing since 2012 with 4,163 cases reported in 2019; 2,791 cases reported in 2020; and 2,832 cases reported in 2021. To date NYC Health + Hospitals has treated and cured over 2,000 patients with Hepatitis C.
“Our primary goal is to identify all our patients with Hepatitis C and connect them to care and treatment. To do this we have to overcome the stigma that’s attached to this disease and support our patients through a treatment course and eventually a cure,” said Emma Kaplan-Lewis, MD, HIV Clinical Quality Director, Office of Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “Our Navigators can answer patient’s questions and guide them through treatment, offering multiple supports along the way.”
“As a Hepatitis C Navigator, it’s my job to ensure that a patient finishes their course of treatment, clears the virus, and achieves a cure,” said Joelle R. Bodeta, Hepatitis Patient Navigator at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. “Sometimes during treatment, life can get in the way for our patients, and it’s my job to provide the support they need to finish treatment.”
Screening for Hepatitis C is essential to get patients in to care. The navigation program is a key component of this work and is available across NYC Health + Hospitals. Within the health system’s electronic medical record reminders have been instituted to support clinical teams identify individuals eligible for screening. Adults aged 18 to 79 should have a Hepatitis C test at least once, and individuals at higher risk should receive more frequent screening. To be screened for Hepatitis C, patients should call 844-NYC 4NYC and schedule an appointment.
At NYC Health + Hospital facilities all first line treatment options, called direct-acting antivirals (DAA) regimens, are available to treat patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Treatments are in swallowable pill form, and the treatment course is 8 to 12 weeks in duration, at which point greater than 95% of patients are cured of the disease. The treatment is tailored to the patient and we work with our patients to identify what treatment options work best for them. Generally, the cost of treatment is covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. NYC Health + Hospitals treats all patients regardless of the ability to pay.
The health system estimates that 1,500 patients at NYC Health + Hospitals today have Hepatitis C infection that is not yet cured. The navigation program is designed to support these individuals, and any newly diagnosed patients, with information on Hepatitis, connection to support services and resources, assistance addressing individual barriers to treatment, and support preventing reinfection. From the time a patient is diagnosed the Navigators are there to support the patient. With an expanded navigation program and increased emphasis on Hepatitis C screening, ending the Hepatitis C epidemic in NYC is finally an achievable goal.
Patients new to NYC Health + Hospitals who wish to be screened or receive treatment should call 844-NYC-4NYC.
About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.