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We examined how a population susceptible to hepatitis C virus (HCV) moves through the HCV screening and linkage-to-care (SLTC) continuum across insurance providers (Medicare, Medicaid, commercial) and identified opportunities for increasing the number of patients who complete the SLTC process and receive treatment.
Discrete-time Markov model.
A cohort of 10,000 HCV-susceptible patients was simulated through the HCV SLTC process using a Markov model with parameters from published literature. Three scenarios were explored: baseline, in which each step required a separate visit and all infected saw a specialist; reflex, which reflexed antibody and RNA testing; and consolidated, which reflexed antibody, RNA, fibrosis staging, and genotype testing into 1 step, with an optional specialist visit. For each scenario, we estimated the number of patients lost at each stage, yield, and cost.
Streamlining the SLTC process by reducing the number of required visits results in more patients completing the process and receiving treatment. Among antibody-positive patients, 76% of those with Medicaid and 71% of those with Medicare and commercial insurance are lost to follow-up in baseline. In reflex and consolidated, these proportions fall to 26% and 27% and 4% and 5%, respectively. The cost to identify and link 1 additional infected patient to care ranges from $1586 to $2546 in baseline and $212 to $548 in consolidated. Total cost, inclusive of treatment, ranges from $1.0 million to $3.1 million in baseline and increases to $3.8 million to $15.1 million in reflex and $5.3 million to $21.0 million in consolidated.
Reducing steps in the HCV SLTC process increases the number of patients who learn their HCV status, receive appropriate care, and initiate treatment.