NYS Hepatitis C Continuity Program Fact Sheet
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What is the Hepatitis C Continuity Program?
The Hepatitis C Continuity Program is a program for New York State (NYS) Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) inmates who are under treatment for hepatitis C (HCV). The program promotes treatment completion upon and after release to the community.
This Program makes it possible for treatment to be initiated in DOCS regardless of the incarceration time remaining, since arrangements for continuity of treatment after release are possible. It enables inmates who initiate treatment prior to release to receive timely referral to appropriate community-based health care providers for continuation of treatment.
How does the Program work?
Participation on the part of inmates is voluntary and there is no cost to the inmate while incarcerated or after release. DOCS Health Services staff and facility Parole Officers work with inmates prior to initiation of treatment to:
- Arrange participation;
- Secure appropriate Release of Information forms;
- Arrange for Medicaid eligibility; and,
- Select a health care provider for referral for treatment completion in the community.
How do health care providers participate?
As release approaches, an initial medical appointment is made with the participating health care provider. Providers accept referrals for administration of medication. This involves a single staff person who receives the patient's signed Release of Information forms and full medical record from the DOCS facility.
How are medications obtained?
DOCS staff arrange for shipment to the receiving health care provider of a two-week supply of Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin, or similar medications, for use with the releasee while Medicaid, other coverage or participation in patient assistance programs is being arranged.
How many patients should the health care provider expect for treatment?
Only a small volume of patients are referred to each health care provider. To increase the probability of success, patients receive a thorough program orientation before release. As appropriate, Parole Officers are an additional resource to help secure arrangements to increase the probability of appointments being kept. For example, Parole Officers may provide access to supportive services (e.g., mental health, housing, substance use treatment), given the severe side effects that many patients experience while being treated for HCV. Taking these steps will increase the probability of successful treatment outcomes.
The Hepatitis C Continuity Program is a partnership between the NYS Department of Correctional Services, NYS Department of Health, NYS Division of Parole, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation and other community-based health care providers. For questions regarding the Hepatitis C Continuity Program, please contact:
Colleen Flanigan, Hepatitis C Coordinator
NYS Department of Health