With reported cases of Hepatitis C skyrocketing around the nation, we have launched an innovative statewide program to help providers in rural and underserved areas treat their patients with Hepatitis C.
HCVNET Arizona / Project ECHO, will include outreach to multiple sites throughout Arizona, including the Navajo and Hopi Native American reservations. It is being partially funded by a $250,000 grant from the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) and a matching grant from a private industry source. St. Joseph’s was selected among over 140 applicants for the prestigious CDC grants.
The goal of this “telementoring” concept is to have more patients treated successfully by assisting and counseling local providers, thus enabling patients to be treated without having to travel to referral centers.
The ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) concept was pioneered by Dr. Sanjeev Arora at the University of New Mexico and is now recognized world-wide as an innovate strategy to bring specialized care to underserved areas. Dr. Arora and his team have invited St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to join a consortium with the Universities of Utah, Washington, and New Mexico to share protocols and data.
HCVNET Arizona/Project ECHO already has sites in ten Northern Arizona communities, with plans to expand to up to 10 other urban and rural sites across the state in 2013. Weekly CME teleconferences are hosted from the Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Disease at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center with primary care providers to help manage their Hepatitis C patients.
Rather than having the patient spend time and money traveling to Phoenix, the new program allows patients to be screened and treated close to home by primary providers who know their culture, language and communities. Patients residing in urban communities can benefit by the increased availability of providers trained to treat Hepatitis C via the network.
For more information, call the Center for Liver and Hepatobiliary Disease at (602) 406-5483.