Tell the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to increase their rating for age based screening from a “C” to “B”!

The USPSTF gives a “B” rating for testing hepatitis C among injection drug users and others at high risk, a major improvement over previous guidelines However, the Task Force failed to match the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lifesaving recommendation of testing all those born between 1945 to 1965 for hepatitis C. It recommends only a “C” grade, which does not recommend testing everyone in this birth cohort. Read the draft recommendations and submit public comment.
Deadline is December 24th!
Originally posted by www.NVHR.org 


Comments can be submitted from November 27 to December 24, 2012. In addition to submitting comments on behalf of your organization, please consider sharing information about this recommendation with your members so that they may submit comments, as well.

DRAFT Summary of Recommendations and Evidence
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults at high risk, including those with any history of intravenous drug use or blood transfusions prior to 1992 (see the Clinical Considerations for more information on risk factors).
This is a grade B recommendation.

The USPSTF recommends that clinicians consider offering screening for HCV infection in adults born between 1945 and 1965 (see the Clinical Considerations for more information on birth-cohort screening).
This is a grade C recommendation.


How to make public comment:

  • Write down your public comment first. It is better to have your comments ready before going to the USPSTF website. You can use the sample language below to help with your message. You do not need to be an expert or worry about making a lot of scientific arguments. The most important thing is to be personal and talk about the importance of hepatitis C testing from your point of view, or that of your organization.
  • If you are writing on behalf of an organization, make sure the comments are on your letterhead. If you are writing on behalf of yourself, make sure you name, city, and state are on your comments.
  • Do not change your document to a PDF file. The website will only allow Word documents to be uploaded. Make sure your font is 11 point or higher.
  • Note that you have to complete this form in one session. You won’t be able to save your comments and go back to the later.
  • There is a series of questions on the public comment page. You do not have to answer every question. For the question “do you believe that the USPSTF came to the right conclusions?” make sure you write “No. I support the “B” recommendation for adults at high-risk, but the “C” recommendation for testing those born between 1945-1965 must be changed to a “B.”
  • REMEMBER, YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 24, 2012.
  • At the bottom of the page, you will be able to upload your public comment letter. You can also mail your letter to the address at the very end of the page, but be sure to mail your comment letter in time for the USPSTF to receive it by December 24, 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to make public comments on this critical issue. If you need help with your public comments, contact rclary@nvhr.org and we will help you.

Sample public comment language for individuals and organizations:

Virginia Moyer, MD, MPH
Chair
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, MD  20850

Dear Dr. Moyer,

I am writing to urge you to change your recommended “C” grade for hepatitis C testing of those born between 1945 – 1965 (“baby boomers”) to a “B” grade.

ENTER PERSONAL STORY HERE. DISCUSS HOW BEING TESTED FOR HEPATITIS C WAS HELPFUL FOR YOU OR PEOPLE KNOW AND CARE ABOUT. IF YOU ARE WITH AN ORGANIZATION THAT DOES HEPATITIS C TESTING, TALK ABOUT HOW TESTING HAS HELPED YOUR CLIENTS.

I appreciate and strongly support your “B” grade recommendation for hepatitis C testing of adults at high risk, including those with a history of injection drug use and those who received a blood transfusion prior to 1992. This recommendation is a significant step forward in recognizing the need for those individuals to be tested for hepatitis C, and linked to care if testing positive.

However, I am deeply disappointed in your “C” grade for testing those born between 1945 and 1965 for hepatitis C.  This recommendation fails to match the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lifesaving recommendation that everyone in this birth cohort receive a one-time hepatitis C test. Baby boomers represent 75% of the more than 4 million cases of hepatitis C in this country. The CDC accurately recognized that the best way to identify these individuals so that they can benefit from care and treatment before developing late stage liver disease is to ensure that they have an opportunity to be tested once.  According to the CDC, this would result in identifying over 800,000 cases and avoiding up to 121,000 deaths.

As you know, many medical providers rely heavily on your guidelines, and many insurers use your guidelines when determining what services to cover. A “C” recommendation will result in many people not being tested during routine medical visits and misses a tremendous opportunity to save lives.  Your draft recommendation conflicts with the federal government’s stated commitment to mount a real fight against the hepatitis C epidemic. You have acknowledged a benefit of testing baby boomers for hepatitis C, and I urge you to change your grade to a “B” to make sure this benefit is realized.

Sincerely,

 

Your name

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