Increasing Capacity to Provide Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Testing in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs

What is the Learning Collaborative?

The New York State Hepatitis C Learning Collaborative for Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs is a two-year initiative to help programs build capacity to provide onsite HCV testing and linkage to care.  The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) launched the first cycle of the learning collaborative on April 1, 2022 and is currently funding three outpatient programs and three opioid treatment programs: Crouse Health Addiction Treatment Services, Horizon Health Services, Huther Doyle Memorial Institute, Lexington Center for Recovery in Valley Cottage, and Poughkeepsie, and UPMC Chautauqua. Programs participating in the Learning Collaborative were required to complete both a knowledge and an organizational assessment, which assessed the knowledge of staff regarding HCV and the readiness of the program to provide HCV services, respectively.  Programs also participated in intensive individual technical assistance calls as well as monthly collaborative calls, in which NYSDOH provided resources and invited subject matter experts to address areas of need for capacity building. Some of the areas that were addressed included: policies and procedures for HCV testing, workflows, billing, phlebotomy, HCV training, linkage to care, and developing a sustainability plan post-collaborative.

Achievements and Accomplishments

Within the first year of the collaborative, staff completed trainings to build their knowledge around HCV. All programs are now providing HCV testing onsite with dedicated nursing staff for HCV care coordination and referrals. Programs established relationships with HCV providers and began systematically collecting and tracking HCV testing and referrals on all new admissions. In addition, two of the programs have instituted billing for HCV testing and another program has started providing treatment onsite for clients diagnosed with HCV. All programs have developed a plan to sustain HCV services post collaborative.

From September 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023, 68% of the 1,543 newly admitted clients in participating programs received an HCV antibody test. Of those clients tested, 31% had a positive antibody test. Of the clients that had a positive antibody test, 98% received an RNA test, of which 55% (177) were diagnosed with HCV.

Of the 177 clients diagnosed with HCV, 30% were linked to care. Of the 53 clients that were linked to care, 25% started HCV treatment and 62% of those clients completed treatment. Of all clients that completed treatment, 88% were cured.

Funding for the Second Cycle of the Learning Collaborative is Now Available

NYSDOH released a solicitation of interest to fund up to 10 new outpatient and opioid treatment programs to participate in the second cycle of the learning collaborative which will begin on April 1, 2024.  Each program will receive $50,000 each year for two years.  To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be a not-for-profit 510(c)(3)
  • be an OASAS certified outpatient or opioid treatment program and
  • have served in 2022 at least 400 outpatient clients or 250 opioid treatment clients.  

For details and more information on how to apply, please use the following link:

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