- The number of internal medicine or family medicine providers treating commercially insured patients with HCV increased more than 3-fold in the first year after the introduction of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs.
Why this matters
- Although most continue to be treated by specialists, patients taking once-daily oral DAAs do not require frequent clinical and laboratory monitoring and can be managed successfully by primary care providers.
- Researchers analyzed medical claims data from more than 50 million commercially insured patients.
- They included providers who prescribed HCV antiviral medication other than ribavirin at least once during the study period, comparing the numbers who did so during the year before and after oral DAAs became available.
- Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institute of Mental Health.
- HCV-treating providers increased from a baseline of 2106 (treating 3025 patients) to 6863 (treating 20,998 patients).
- Gastroenterologists and hepatologists comprised more than half of all providers treating HCV, but the largest percentage increases in providers were among nonspecialists.
- The number of counties with HCV treatment providers expanded from 540 to 853.
- Trends may vary for patients covered by government-sponsored health plans.