With the number of people with chronic hepatitis C reaching record levels in New York City and the recent availability of more effective treatments, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai recently announced the receipt of $1.9 million in federal funding to increase its capacity to treat HCV in primary care settings. Called Project INSPIRE NYC, the new initiative arose from a partnership between The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and the Fund for Public Health, which together won a grant to fund it from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Health Care Innovation Awards program.
The project will seek to better identify those infected with hepatitis C through surveillance databases and community referrals as part of primary care, while ensuring that patients get the best treatment, behavioral counseling and a read out on health risks that can accompany the disease (e.g. substance abuse). Primary care or HIV providers will be supported by addiction medicine specialists, psychiatrists and hepatologists, who will be available via telemedicine.
"Building a better system to find and care for the many patients with chronic hepatitis C in our community is an urgent priority, and we are honored to be a part of it," said Ponni Perumalswami, MD, Assistant Professor for Medicine and Liver Diseases, and Director of the Mount Sinai Hepatitis Outreach Network (HONE) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This is an exciting initiative spearheaded by the City's Health Department that will lead to better health outcomes."
The projected Mount Sinai subcontract will run for three years, led by Dr. Perumalswami and co-investigators Jeffrey J. Weiss, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and General Internal Medicine and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Douglas T. Dieterich, MD, Professor of Medicine and Liver Diseases and Director of Outpatient Hepatology, both at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The goals of Project INSPIRE NYC are to provide better care by increasing the number of patients starting HCV therapy, strengthen management of behavioral health problems and reduce hospitalizations. The program will also work to reduce the number of HCV-related complications, and increase screenings for depression and alcohol abuse among those diagnosed with chronic HCV. This promises to improve patient health while lower health care costs.
Mount Sinai Health System