Context: Chronic hepatitis C infection (CHCI) is an increasingly common problem, affecting about 2% of the US population. The cost and complexity of treatment and difficulties in communicating with the infected population are of concern to insurers and health planners. Purpose: To describe the clinical features of patients with CHCI in a rural Medicaid-covered population and to describe a method developed for treating CHCI in an underserved rural community. Methods: We developed a disease management approach to patients with CHCI receiving insurance coverage through a Medicaid HMO in rural Oregon. A locally based multidisciplinary hepatitis committee was formed to develop a management protocol and a process for selecting patients for treatment. The committee met monthly to develop the treatment plan for individual patients. Day-to-day treatment was provided by a nurse under the supervision of the committee. Findings: One hundred forty-three adults with CHCI were identified by their primary care physicians. About half the patients had a type 1 genotype. Treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin was completed on 21 persons, 11 (52%) of whom had a virologic cure. Problems with treatment toxicity were common. Patient satisfaction with the treatment by the nurse was high. Conclusions: CHCI is common in this rural, nonminority Medicaid-insured population. A locally based disease management model was developed that was well received by patients and was successful in delivering a high quality of care for people with CHCI in a rural area.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Rural Health|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2005|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health