Arkansas Receives ‘F’ in Harvard Law School & NVHR Report Card Project Grading Medicaid Programs for Discriminatory Hepatitis C Treatment Restrictions

 
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Arkansas Receives ‘F’ in Harvard Law School & NVHR Report Card Project Grading Medicaid Programs for Discriminatory Hepatitis C Treatment Restrictions

 

AR is One of Just Three States to Currently Have an ‘F’ in ‘Hepatitis C: State of Medicaid Access,’ Which Grades 52 Medicaid Programs & Offers Recommendations to Improve

 

August 22, 2018 – The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) gave Arkansas an “F” in their report and interactive project, Hepatitis C: State of Medicaid Access, which grades all 50 state Medicaid programs, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to access to curative treatments for hepatitis C, the nation’s deadliest infectious disease.

 

Arkansas is one of only three state Medicaid programs that current has an “F” for imposing discriminatory restrictions on hepatitis C cures. Specifically, Arkansas’s Medicaid Program, Arkansas Works, requires hepatitis C patients to demonstrate severe liver damage (a fibrosis score of F3 or greater), six months of sobriety, and a prescription from a specialist – who can be costly and difficult to find – before receiving access to treatment.

 

“Over 37,000 individuals in Arkansas are infected with hepatitis C, now responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year, despite the fact that the disease is preventable and treatable,” said Tina Broder, interim executive director of NVHR.

 

Hepatitis C: State of Medicaid Access – which is available online in interactive form at http://stateofhepc.org – grades each state, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to its overall “state of access.” Each grade is determined by curative treatment restrictions related to three areas: 1) liver disease progression (fibrosis) restrictions, 2) sobriety/substance use requirements, and 3) prescriber limitations – all of which contradict guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as recommendations from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA). The report also offers suggestions for each state on how to reduce its treatment access requirements.

 

“Arkansas’ grade in this project illustrates that there are still significant barriers that patients face when trying to receive care for hepatitis C. We encourage Arkansas to eliminate these restrictions and join other states that are allowing hepatitis C patients to get the care they need,” said Robert Greenwald, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the director of CHLPI.

 

States that currently have an “A” include: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington. States that have an “F” are Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota. Most states – 17 and Puerto Rico – have a “D” grade.

 

Read the full Arkansas report card here.

 

About the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable is a national coalition working together to eliminate hepatitis B and C in the United States. NVHR’s vision is a healthier world without hepatitis B and C. NVHR’s work is guided and informed by our beliefs and commitment to: Participation, Inclusiveness, Intersectionality, Health Equity, and Stigma Elimination. For more information, visit www.nvhr.org.

 

About the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI)

The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) advocates for legal, regulatory, and policy reforms to improve the health of underserved populations, with a focus on the needs of low-income people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities. CHLPI works with consumers, advocates, community-based organizations, health and social services professionals, government officials, and others to expand access to high-quality healthcare; to reduce health disparities; to develop community advocacy capacity; and to promote more equitable and effective healthcare systems. CHLPI is a clinical teaching program of Harvard Law School and mentors students to become skilled, innovative, and thoughtful practitioners as well as leaders in health, public health, and food law and policy. For more information, visit http://www.chlpi.org.

 

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