Hepatitis C virus screening and care: Complexity of implementation in primary care practices serving disadvantaged populations

Barbara J. Turner, Andrea Rochat, Sarah Lill, Raudel Bobadilla, Ludivina Hernandez, Aro Choi, Juan A. Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities. Objective: To examine processes and outcomes of Screen, Treat, Or Prevent Hepatocellular Carcinoma (STOP HCC), a multicomponent intervention for HCV screening and care in safety-net primary care practices. Design: Mixed-methods retrospective analysis. Setting: 5 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and 1 family medicine residency program serving low-income communities in diverse locations with largely Hispanic populations. Patients: Persons born in 1945 through 1965 (baby boomers) who had never been tested for HCV and were followed through May 2018. Intervention: The Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) model guided implementation and evaluation. Test costs were covered for uninsured patients. Measurements: All practices tested patients for anti-HCV antibody (anti-HCV) and HCV RNA. For uninsured patients with chronic HCV in 4 practices, quantitative data also enabled assessment of HCV staging, specialist teleconsultation, direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment, and sustained virologic response (SVR). Implementation fidelity and adaptation were assessed qualitatively. Results: Anti-HCV screening was done in 13 334 of 27 700 baby boomers (48.1%, varying by practice from 19.8% to 71.3%). Of 695 anti-HCV–positive patients, HCV RNA was tested in 520 (74.8%; 48.9% to 92.9% by practice), and 349 persons (2.6% of those screened) were diagnosed with chronic HCV. In 4 FQHCs, 174 (84.9%) of 205 uninsured patients with chronic HCV had disease staging, 145 (70.7%) had teleconsultation review, 119 (58.0%) were recommended to start DAA therapy, 82 (40.0%) initiated free DAA therapy, 74 (36.1%) completed therapy (27.8% to 60.0% by practice), and 70 (94.6% of DAA completers) achieved SVR. Implementation was promoted by multilevel practice engagement, patient navigation, and anti-HCV screening with reflex HCV RNA testing. Limitation: No control practices were included, and data were missing for some variables. Conclusion: Despite a similar framework for STOP HCC implementation, performance varied widely across safety-net practices, which may reflect practice engagement as well as infrastructure or cost challenges beyond practice control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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