New York State Coalition Hepatitis C Consensus Statement Leads to Governor’s Action
Last year, facing a growing hepatitis C epidemic with a rising death toll, a broad coalition of 94 stakeholders in New York joined together to develop a Consensus Statement on Hepatitis C Elimination in New York State. The Consensus Statement included a call to action and community pillars to inform a statewide plan to eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in New York State. As a result of their work, New York now has the nation's first state-level comprehensive hepatitis C elimination, which was announced by the governor this spring.
Led by VOCAL-NY, a statewide grassroots organization, the coalition partnered with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to build consensus on the opportunity for statewide HCV elimination. Coalition members included state and local government representatives, epidemiologists, healthcare providers, harm reduction and social service providers, community advocates, and people impacted by viral hepatitis. With tools such as the new highly effective and easy to tolerate curative treatments for HCV infection and proven harm reduction strategies to prevent transmission, stakeholders in New York State felt they had the necessary tools to control – and eventually eliminate HCV.
Starting in late 2016, work groups met to draft and prioritize recommendations in five areas of focus: prevention; testing and linkage; care and treatment access; data, surveillance and metrics; and social determinants of health. This work culminated in the nation’s first Hepatitis C Elimination Summit that took place in Albany, New York, in early 2017 when more than 250 stakeholders convened to present and discuss recommendations for the elimination of HCV in the state. The Summit resulted in consensus on five pillars to achieve in working toward the elimination of HCV including: prevention; testing and linkage; care and treatment; surveillance, data, and metrics; and social determinants. Details on these pillars and the full Consensus Statement are available online.
The Summit concluded by calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, and industry partners to make a joint commitment to hepatitis C elimination, and for appointment of a formal New York State Hepatitis C Elimination Task Force. In the months following the summit, a New York State Hepatitis C Elimination campaign and website were launched, along with a sign up page to gather support the campaign.
These coalition efforts yielded results in March 2018 when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the country’s first state-level HCV elimination strategy. Key elements of the strategy are increasing HCV treatment and outreach programs for people at risk for infection.
As we work to achieve the goals of the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan across the nation, state and local coalitions play a critical role. We are excited to work with colleagues in New York to share their great example of coalition-building, strategic planning, and commitment to eliminating HCV in New York State. Check out the Partner Planning Guide and the other resources HHS has developed to support state and local partners as you work to build coalitions, consensus, and momentum, then share your plans to address viral hepatitis with us and others working in this exciting field.
.@VOCALNewYork and other community organizations joined forces to develop a “Consensus Statement on #HepC Elimination in New York State” resulting in nation’s first state-wide plan for elimination. Read more about the initiative here: https://go.usa.gov/xQhHd