VA facilities in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida educate Veterans on Hepatitis C


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VA locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida staffed a Hepatitis C outreach events allowing Veterans enrolled in VA health care to be tested without a referral.

Jackson and Biloxi along with 11 other VA community clinics throughout Mississippi, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida held the one-day event for Veterans born between 1945-1965 – an age group that generally has a higher rate of Hep C.

“Our June 13 Hepatitis C testing outreach event is our first initiative as a board,” said Steve Gabris, a VA Veterans experience officer for Mississippi.   “We really want to use this as an opportunity to get the word out about what the board is, what it represents and how we can assist Mississippi veterans.”

Gabris is referring to the recently stood up Mississippi Community Veterans Engagement Board that joins more than 50 other boards in communities across the nation. The boards are designed to bring together all available local resources and capabilities in addition to those provided by VA to better support Veterans.

Hepatitis C affects millions and it is important that all Veterans born during this period be tested. A VA study shows that new drug regimens for Hepatitis C have resulted in “remarkably high” cure rates among patients in VA’s national health care system. Since Jan. 1, 2014, the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson has treated a total of 450 Veterans with rates of cure exceeding 90 percent.

Since oral antiviral treatments became available in 2014, VA has treated more than 80,000 patients with Hep C nationwide and continues to treat about 2,000 more Veterans each month curing the vast majority of them from the life threating illness.

Veterans with or without Hep C are encourage to enroll in VA health care. Veterans have several methods to choose from:

  • To apply by phone, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m..EST.
  • When applying online at http://www.vets.gov/, Veterans simply fill out the application and electronically submit it to VA for processing
  • The application form can also be downloaded from www.vets.gov/healthcare/apply/. Mail the completed form to: Health Eligibility Center Enrollment Eligibility Division 2957 Clairmont Road Suite 200 Atlanta, GA 30329-1647
  • Apply in person at any VA health care facility or VA regional office. Once enrolled, Veterans can receive health care at VA health care facilities anywhere in the country.

 

Author

Gary Hicks

  is a public affairs specialist and serves as the senior writer in the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. He is a former managing editor of a daily newspaper and served in both the Army and Air Force prior to joining VA in 2006. Gary’s wife is an Air Force Senior NCO stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Comments

  1. Thomas A Klein    

    This is the second or third article on this (hepatitis C) subject I’ve seen in the last few months. However, I’ve yet to see any expression of the REASON for this age group to be so susceptible to this disease. Also, risk factors and symptoms would also be appreciated.

  2. Charles E Allen    

    I have Hept-C geno type 6 which I got in Vietnam 1970-71 it is in stage 4 I have asked the President to upgrade my discharge because I am dieing.

  3. Tom Miller    

    I’ve begged my VA care provider to please test me for Hep C (born 1955). I can’t even get a response. So please enlighten me as to what the secret is. I would be most appreciative. Thanks

  4. Brent K Harrison    

    My meds are being cut off bc i live about40 miles from a facility and havent had any wsy toget there. I have no family that will help and its $60 one way with a cab. I would love to go but im not able to at the time being so lets just cut my meds out. Thanks VA

    1. Dean Warnock    

      Brent, do you have a local VFW or American Legion? How about contacting the VA Hospital and see if they have a transportation shuttle that comes out to you. There has to be a way for you to get there. Where are you located?

  5. Ty Keven krasnoff    

    Yes and not just listening to positive experiences but those from people who have had troubles with the system as well. You can’t improve a system by patting yourself on the back alone.

  6. Gene Schnipke    

    I recently started treatment for Hep C… Reno VA. My viral count was quite low and I “had” Geno type 3. The treatment plan consisted of taking one pill a day for 12 weeks. I have completed 8 weeks so far and blood test after 4 weeks showed my liver to be free of the virus.
    (SOFOSBUVIR400MG/VELPATASVIR 100MG – EPCLUSA) Horray for the VA for encouraging our vets to take part in this program!!

  7. James Bryant    

    I did the old Combo therapy back in 2000 for 48 weeks. Fortunately I have been “clear” ever since. It took me from 1994 to 2000 before I could find VA doc who would start me on treatment.

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