Determinants of Treatment Eligibility in Veterans With Hepatitis C Viral Infection

Janice Taylor, Sian Carr-Lopez, Amy Robinson, Robert Malmstrom, Karsten Duncan, Archana Maniar, A. C.Del Re, Jannet M. Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purposes The objective of this study was to determine the percentage of veterans with active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who were deemed to be candidates for treatment and to identify factors associated with treatment ineligibility. Methods This was a multisite, retrospective cohort analysis of veterans with HCV infection within the Veteran Integrated Service Network 21. Patients evaluated between August and November 2015 who were viremic and not receiving HCV treatment were included in the analysis. Reasons for treatment exclusion were determined by an experienced clinician and recorded into a regional population management dashboard. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the population. The t test for normally distributed data, the Mann-Whitney rank sum test for data that failed normality testing, or the χ2 test were used to examine differences between the treatment eligible and ineligible cohorts. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were conducted to estimate patient outcomes relevant to various disease states and characteristics while controlling for interfacility variability. Findings The cohort included 1,003 veterans within 5 medical centers; 988 (98.5%) were male, and 625 (62%) had a fibrosis 4 score >3.25, indicating the presence of ALD. According to clinician classification, 478 (48%) were considered HCV treatment candidates, whereas 525 (52%) were determined to be treatment ineligible. The most common reasons documented by clinicians for treatment ineligibility included unstable or uncontrolled comorbidities (n = 118 [22.4%]), excessive alcohol use (n = 116 [22.1%]), and treatment refusal by the patient (n = 69 [13%]). On the basis of statistical modeling and reporting odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs, diagnoses of active alcohol use disorder (OR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47–0.98; P = 0.038), hepatocellular carcinoma (OR = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.13–0.47; P < 0.001), and palliative care status (OR = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.05–0.99; P = 0.049) were statistically associated with treatment ineligibility, whereas posttraumatic stress disorder (OR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.01–2.18; P = 0.046) was associated with treatment eligibility. There were no statistically significant differences found for other psychiatric diagnoses or an encounter for homelessness. Implications Results of this study indicate that a high percentage of patients may not be considered treatment eligible at initial clinical review. Within this veteran population, the presence of uncontrolled comorbidities and excessive alcohol use were the most commonly reported reasons for treatment ineligibility. On the basis of this analysis, processes could be established to address modifiable barriers to treatment, thus expanding the number of individuals receiving potentially curative therapy for HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • direct-acting antivirals
  • hepatitis C
  • population management
  • pretreatment assessment
  • treatment candidate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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