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DOC Settles Hepatitis C Inmate Suit

Tags: DOC
November 20, 2018 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

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The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has settled a suit over treatment of inmates with Hepatitis C. Under the terms of the settlement, the DOC has agreed to continue to treat inmates over the next three years with the latest drug approved for Hepatitis C that cures the infection during a three-month course of medication. Advocates for inmates alleged that the DOC had denied treatment due to the cost of the medication.

In response to this recent legal action, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections says:

"Providing quality health care to all inmates is a priority of the Department of Corrections.  The DOC has worked hard to prioritize direct acting antiviral (DAA) medication to eligible inmate patients.  In the few years that the new generation of medication has been available, the DOC has already completed DAA treatment for 650 inmates with Hepatitis C who fell within the most serious stages (F3/F4) of liver disease.  In addition, the DOC is currently providing DAA treatment to 105 individuals, including those in the more moderate stages of the disease (F2). 

To enhance its Hepatitis C treatment program, DOC began a partnership with Temple University earlier this year.  Collaboration with Temple allows the inmate Hepatitis C patients to access medical professionals in the Temple hospital system both during their time of incarceration and as part of continuity of care after release. 

The proposed settlement represents the DOC's continued commitment to prioritize treatment for Hepatitis C patients.  Under the Agreement, the DOC commits to continue to expand DAA medication treatment to eligible inmates in the earliest stages of infection (F1, F0) over the course of the next three years.

The budget for hepatitis C treatment within DOC for 2018-2019 was $13.2 million. The average per patient treatment cost is now down to about $20,000, but cases vary. That cost is expected to drop again in 2019. We don't know the total in outlying years because of the changing – likely downward - costs."

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