Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States.
National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States.
Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA, United States.
Improving care and treatment for persons infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can reduce HCV-related morbidity and mortality. Our primary objective was to examine the HCV care continuum among patients receiving care at five Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Philadelphia, PA where a testing and linkage to care program had been established.
Among the five FQHCs, one served a homeless population, two served public housing residents, one served a majority Hispanic population, and the last, a "test and treat" site, also provided HCV treatment to patients. We analyzed data from electronic health records of patients tested for HCV antibody from 2012-2016 and calculated the percentage of patients across nine steps of the HCV care continuum ranging from diagnosis to cure. We further explored factors associated with successful patient navigation through two steps of the continuum using multivariable logistic regression.
Of 885 chronically infected patients, 92.2% received their RNA positive result, 82.7% were referred to an HCV provider, 69.4% were medically evaluated by the provider, 55.3% underwent liver disease staging, 15.0% initiated treatment, 12.0% completed treatment, 8.7% were assessed for sustained virologic response (SVR), and 8.0% achieved SVR. Regression results revealed that test and treat site patients were significantly more likely to be medically evaluated (aOR=2.76; 95% CI=1.82, 4.17) and undergo liver disease staging (aOR=1.92, 95% CI=1.02, 2.86) than patients at the other FQHCs combined.
In this U.S. urban setting, over two-thirds of HCV-infected patients were linked to care. Although treatment uptake was low overall, it was highest at the test and treat site. Scaling up treatment services in HCV testing settings will be vital to improve the HCV care continuum.