NVHR 2014 Policy Agenda:
NVHR will finalize our 2014 viral hepatitis policy agenda at our Steering Committee meeting later this month. There are many opportunities this year to advance the fight against viral hepatitis, including Affordable Care Act implementation, the next version of the HHS Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, securing increased funding through appropriations and passage of the Viral Hepatitis Testing Act, and continued advocacy with Medicare and Medicaid.
Viral Hepatitis Testing Act Introduced:
On December 12, 2013, Representative Bill Cassidy introduced H.R. 3723, the Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013. This bill offers the potential to secure badly needed funding for viral hepatitis testing and linkage to care services. Read NVHR’s statement on the legislation here
USPSTF and Hepatitis B Testing:
In the next few months, the United States Preventive Services Task Force is expected to release draft recommendations on hepatitis B testing for non-pregnant adolescents and adults. We hope the updated guidelines will recommend testing high-risk groups as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help identify the large number of people who don’t know they have hepatitis B. NVHR will encourage our members to submit public comment once the draft is released.
New Report on Infectious Disease Outbreaks:
On December 17, 2013, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report showing gaps in the nation’s ability to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks, including viral hepatitis. You can read the report and background information here
ACA and Hepatitis C:
On December 19, 2013, a new Milliman report, funded by Janssen Therapeutics, was released. The report looks at opportunities to leverage the Affordable Care Act to expand hepatitis C testing, care, and treatment in the United States. You can read the full report here