By: Marcus J. Hopkins, Blogger
On Wednesday, April 26th, 2018, Elizabeth Paukstis, Public Policy Director for the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), joined me in Washington, DC to deliver presentations about Linkages to Care for Current/Former Incarcerated Citizens Living with Hepatitis C. This was the second such meeting held by the Community Access National Network (CANN) in as many years dedicated to the topic of correctional healthcare.
My presentation – Viral Hepatitis in Correctional Settings – included original research conducted by CANN that attempted gather the testing protocols for Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) from Departments/Divisions of Corrections (DOCs) in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The findings of this research are as follows:
- Only fourteen (14) states publicly post specific protocols on their state DOC websites
- Twenty-five (25) states require or offer HBV testing during intake
- Thirty-two (32) states require or offer HCV testing during intake
- Only seven (7) states follow the Federal Board of Prisons’ (BOP) recommendation of offering HBV testing using an Opt-Out delivery model (informed refusal)
- Only fifteen (15) states offer HCV testing using an Opt-Out delivery model
- Twenty-three (23) states only test for HBV on inmate request or if they meet clinical criteria (e.g. – inmate has HIV, contact with someone who has HBV, injection drug use)
- Seventeen (17) states only test for HCV on inmate request or if they meet clinical criteria (Hopkins, 2018)
My report can be found here.
Ms. Paukstis’ presentation – Hepatitis C and Incarceration: Policy Proposals and Challenges – focused on treatment statistics within prisons, the challenges prisons face when procuring prescription drugs, provided a case study regarding Mississippi’s myriad issues related to HCV in their prison populations. Highlights of this presentation include:
- An estimated 17% of inmates in U.S. state prisons are infected with HCV
- Less than 1% (0.89%) of those known to have HCV were receiving treatment in 2016
- The Federal BOP receives at least a 24% discount on HCV drugs – a discount to which state prisons are not privy
- State prisons are not eligible for discounts under the Federal 340B Drug Pricing Program
- Incarcerated persons face an additional risk of having their sentences extended if they are charged with “endangerment by bodily substance” (causing a correctional employee, visitor, or another inmate to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, urine, feces, or saliva)
- Hopkins, M.J. (2018, April 25). Viral Hepatitis in Correctional Settings. Washington, DC: Community Access National Network. Retrieved from: http://www.tiicann.org/urls/2018_CANN_Presentation_Viral_Hepatitis_Correctional_Settings_04-25-18_HOPKINS.pdf
- Paukstis, E. (2018, April 25). Hepatitis C and Incarceration: Policy Proposals and Challenges. Washington, DC: National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. Retrieved from: http://www.tiicann.org/urls/2018_CANN_Presentation_Viral_Hepatitis_Correctional_Settings_04-25-18_PAUKSTIS.pdf
Disclaimer: HEAL Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Access National Network (CANN), but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about Hepatitis-related issues and updates. Please note that the content of some of the HEAL Blogs might be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed in it.