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​Pennsylvania Viral Hepatitis Elimination Plan

In 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) selected 30 external stakeholders to serve as Viral Hepatitis Elimination Planning Committee members tasked with drafting an elimination plan in partnership with DOH. In October 2019, the Planning Committee drafted Viral Hepatitis Elimination (VHE) plan goals and objectives. The Planning Committee identified four subsections in which to divide the plan and four workgroups were formed to refine the goals and objectives under each subsection. Learn more about each subsection:

In 2021, DOH piloted listening session opportunities for people affected by viral hepatitis to share their experience navigating the disease in Pennsylvania. People with lived experience shared several themes: 1) barriers to diagnosis and treatment exist throughout the state, including insurance barriers, but barriers are reduced with the assistance of community-based organizations 2) viral hepatitis has significantly affected people's lives, especially related to fear and anxiety over premature death and transmission to family members 3) DOH needs to improve awareness around viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and expand syringe service programs.

Prevention and Education

Long-term Goal 1: Raise public awareness of viral hepatitis prevention and education as a statewide priority.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Create a statewide viral hepatitis awareness campaign.
    • Expand capacity with partners to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, acknowledging diversity in Pennsylvania and built upon the trust that community organizations have with at-risk communities.
    • Increase knowledge of hepatitis A and B vaccination.
    • Expand hepatitis vaccine coverage, particularly among high- risk adults.

Long-term Goal 2: Expand the availability of co-located viral hepatitis and harm reduction services and programs throughout the state

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Improve access to sterile syringes and other injection equipment for viral hepatitis prevention by supporting statewide harm reduction service expansion.
    • Ensure that people receiving viral hepatitis education and prevention interventions also have access to overdose prevention and treatment for substance use disorder.

Testing and Linkage to Care

Long-term Goal 1: Ensure all Pennsylvanians know their hepatitis B and C status.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Improve diagnostic tools and systems for hepatitis B and C.
    • Expand pharmacy scope of practice to include hepatitis B and C education, vaccination and screening.
    • Improve provider knowledge and uptake of United States Preventive Services Task Force and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hepatitis B and C screening guidelines.
    • Ensure all pregnant people are tested for hepatitis B and C during pregnancy, and gestational parents living with hepatitis B and/or C are appropriately reported and referred for follow-up care.
    • Ensure all children born to hepatitis B and/or C-positive gestational parents are vaccinated for hepatitis B, and all infected children are appropriately referred for follow-up care.

Long-term Goal 2: Ensure all Pennsylvanians living with hepatitis B and/or C access sustainable, appropriate medical care and treatment.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Increase the number of people diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and/or C who are able to access sustainable care through implementation of innovative and multi-sectoral programs.
    • Improve provider awareness of hepatocellular carcinoma screening guidelines to ensure that all people living with chronic hepatitis B and C are appropriately screened for liver cancer, to prevent cancer-related mortality.

Treatment Access

Long-term Goal 1: Ensure that every individual living with hepatitis B and C in Pennsylvania receives treatment.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Streamline, reduce, or remove health insurance hepatitis C prior authorization, broaden liver score assessments to those recommended by American Association for The Study of Liver Diseases, and remove genotype testing requirement for hepatitis C treatment.
    • Eliminate barriers to Medicaid reimbursement of hepatitis C- related services in Pennsylvania drug and alcohol treatment facilities.
    • Reduce hepatitis B treatment costs and improve access to treatment by addressing adverse drug tiering issues.

Long-term Goal 2: Expand the number of hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatment providers in Pennsylvania.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Document the number of hepatitis B treatment providers in Pennsylvania.
    • Expand hepatitis B treatment training opportunities for providers.
    • Document the number of hepatitis C treatment providers in Pennsylvania.
    • Expand hepatitis C treatment training opportunities.

Long-term Goal 3: Significantly reduce stigma surrounding hepatitis B and C among patients and healthcare providers.

  • Short-term goal: 
    • Educate providers regarding current American Association for The Study of Liver Diseases /Infectious Disease Society of America guidelines that support treatment of people who use drugs to benefit the individual's health as well as the public's health reducing rates of transmission.

Data and Surveillance

Long-term Goal 1: Continuously monitor the hepatitis B and C care cascade of every diagnosed Pennsylvanian.

  • Short-term goal: 
    • Monitor the hepatitis B and C care cascade for the following populations: HIV/hepatitis C co-infected, hepatitis B/C coinfected, clients treated at Pennsylvania drug and alcohol facilities, clients served at Pennsylvania syringe service program sites, clients served at Federally Qualified Health Centers, incarcerated individuals.

Long-term Goal 2: Continuously monitor hepatitis B and C-related morbidity and mortality.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Create a Pennsylvania viral hepatitis morbidity profile.
    • Annually review viral hepatitis-related death data.

Long-term Goal 3: Ensure viral hepatitis data findings are comprehensively summarized for public consumption.

  • Short-term goals: 
    • Share progress of Elimination Plan as shown by data outcomes.
    • Annually update viral hepatitis data summaries.

Committee Partners and Meeting Information

  • Elimination Planning Committee/Hep Free PA
    • Allegheny County Health Department
    • Allegheny Health Network Center for Inclusion Health
    • Central Outreach
    • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
    • Christiana Care Center
    • Community Liver Alliance
    • Duquesne University School of Pharmacy
    • Gaudenzia
    • Help4hep
    • Hepatitis B Foundation
    • Hepatitis Treatment Research and Education Center
    • Lehigh Valley Hospital
    • Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers
    • Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition
    • Philadelphia Department of Public Health
    • Philadelphia FIGHT
    • Prevention Point Philadelphia
    • Prevention Point Pittsburgh
    • Public Health Management Corporation
    • Reading Hospital
    • Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
    • TruCare Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
    • University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
    • The Wright Center for Community Health

Viral Hepatitis Resources