NVHR Press Release: South Dakota 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

 

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

 

SD 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 17, 2018 – The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) gave South Dakota 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, now the nation’s deadliest infectious disease.

 

South Dakota is one of only three state Medicaid programs that currently has an “F” for imposing discriminatory restrictions on hepatitis C cures. Specifically, South Dakota’s Medicaid Program 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.

 

“Hepatitis C, the nation’s deadliest infectious disease impacts over 6,300 individuals in South Dakota,” said Tina Broder, interim executive director of NVHR. “States with failing grades and discriminatory restrictions like South Dakota can use this project to reform their Medicaid policies and ensure patients with hepatitis C can receive essential care and have access to treatment.”

 

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.

 

“South Dakota, as shown in this report, has some of the most restrictive limits placed on Medicaid enrollees living with hepatitis C. These requirements make it very difficult for those suffering from the disease to access life-saving treatment,” said Dr. Jennifer Giroux, a Medical Epidemiologist at the Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center in South Dakota.

 

“Individuals most at-risk for receiving and transmitting hepatitis C are barred from treatment in South Dakota based on sobriety restrictions. South Dakota can reduce the transmission of hepatitis C by joining the many Medicaid programs across the country that have eliminated these medically unfounded restrictions on patients based on sobriety,” said Robert Greenwald, Clinical Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the director of CHLPI.

 

States that currently have an “A” are: 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 South Dakota 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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