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National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Observes World Hepatitis Day and Calls for Increased Federal Action
Date:5/19/2009

t="_blank">http://www.milliman.com/expertise/healthcare/publications/rr/consequences-hepatits-c-virus-RR05-15-09.php) This shocking finding highlights the need for increased governmental leadership to protect the health of Americans. Left unchecked, the astronomical cost of care for end stage liver disease in our aging population will threaten President Obama's health-care reform plans.

While the situation is serious, Congress and the Administration can take concrete steps to avert a worst-case scenario. But action is needed urgently. There are two things the federal government can do immediately to address the situation.

First, increase funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from its current level of $18.3 million to $50 million annually. CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis is funded at $18,316,000 for FY 2009, which represents approximately 2% of the budget of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and TB Prevention. States receive an average of $90,000 to support adult viral hepatitis prevention. This provides for little more than one staff position for an entire state, and no services.

Second, appoint a senior member of the staff of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to focus on coordination of viral hepatitis efforts across federal agencies. This would include ensuring screening programs are available nationwide and care and support programs are available for persons living with chronic viral hepatitis. This position would also serve as a resource to ensure viral hepatitis needs are adequately included in the details of the Administration's health care reform package. Currently
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National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Observes World Hepatitis Day and Calls for Increased Federal Action
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