Beefed-up policies that have improved hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing rates among Indian Health Service (IHS) patients in the baby boom generation also highlight the challenges the federal agency faces in treating perhaps thousands who will need expensive direct-acting antiviral drugs.
The IHS provides care for about 1.9 million members of 566 federally recognized tribes through a network of 46 hospitals, 344 health centers, and 230 village clinics and health stations in 35 states. Recent strategies that the IHS adopted to test the high-risk baby boom population born between 1945 and 1965, including clinical decision support tools in electronic health records, boosted the HCV testing rate among patients in that birth cohort by 4-fold, from about 8% of patients in 2012 to 32.5% in 2015 (Reilley B et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:467-469).
Indian Health Service Faces Hurdles as More HCV Cases Emerge. JAMA. 2016;315(24):2657. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7772