National Viral Hepatitis Program
VHA Directive 1300.01, February 22, 2013
This VHA Directive gives this Program, within the Office of Public Health/Clinical Public Health (OPH/CPH), the responsibility to provide primary guidance and advice to the Under Secretary for Health on VHA policy and services related to viral hepatitis, and the lead coordination of quality improvement activities using population-based approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and care of viral hepatitis across the system.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest single provider of medical care to people with hepatitis C in the United States. The VA's efforts in this area are led by the HIV, Hepatitis, and Human Pathogens Programs, under the direction of the Clinical Public Health Group whose mission is to provide the highest quality, comprehensive care to Veterans and to have that care recognized as the standard by which all health care in the United States is measured. This includes patient care activities, clinician and patient education, prevention activities, and efforts directed at continuous improvement of medical and preventive services and delivery of care to Veterans.
VHA's hepatitis C care is implemented at VA medical facilities across the country and uses a comprehensive approach that includes:
- Universal screening for risk of hepatitis C infection
- Testing and counseling for those at risk
- Education for patients and their families
- Giving providers access to the best available information about hepatitis C
- Excellence in clinical care
- Support for research to improve clinical care
- Ongoing quality improvement
We put veterans first. VA's response to hepatitis C reflects the Department's highest ideal--to meet the needs of those who have served their country so nobly.
Programs and Contacts
Clinical Public Health
Richard Martinello, MD, Chief Consultant
Hepatitis C Resource Centers (HCRC)
The Hepatitis C Resource Center (HCRC) network is an integral part of VA's National Hepatitis C Program. Each of the HCRCs work closely with other elements of the Public Health Strategic Health Care Group to develop best practices in hepatitis C prevention, clinical care, patient and provider education, and program evaluation for use within VA as well as for other medical care systems.
- Connecticut, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, MD, Director
- Minneapolis, Eric Dieperink, MD, and Christine Pocha, MD, Co-Directors
- Northwest, Michael Chang, MD, MSc, Director
- San Francisco, Alexander Monto, MD, Director
The VA Hepatitis C website leverages the expertise of the VA Hepatitis C Resource Centers (HCRC), four VA medical centers who work together to develop best practices in hepatitis C prevention, clinical care, patient and provider education, and program evaluation for use within VA as well as for other medical care systems. The HCRC products include treatment recommendations, clinician tools, and both provider and patient education materials.
The website is also a collaboration between Clinical Public Health and the Center for HIV Information (CHI), which also manages the VA's HIV/AIDS website .
CHI is a program of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, which partners with government agencies, foundations, and international organizations to identify and develop information on HIV care, prevention, and policy, and associated conditions. CHI's Advisory Board is chaired by Paul A. Volberding, MD, San Francisco VA Medical Center and Professor and Vicechair, Department of Medicine, UCSF.
David Ross, MD, PhD
Director, HIV, Hepatitis, and Public Health Pathogens Programs
CHI medical editors who have provided content to the VA Hepatitis C website are:
- Rena Fox, MD.
Rena Fox is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at University of California, San Francisco. She has been on the faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine for 9 years and has developed a special interest and expertise in the field of hepatitis C, viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma screening. She cares for patients with hepatitis B and C at the Viral Hepatitis Practice at UCSF. She is affiliated with the VA National Hepatitis C Resource Center in San Francisco, and has worked within the HCRC on educating primary care doctors to learn how to care for patients with hepatitis C and ways to improve hepatitis C care at VA sites around the country. She also performs clinical and epidemiological research in hepatitis C at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center and previously in the California State Department of Corrections. Additionally, she has an active primary care practice and teaches clinical outpatient and inpatient medicine to students and residents at the UCSF Department of Medicine.
- Alex Monto, MD
Alex Monto, a liver specialist at UCSF Medical Center and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, cares for patients with all types of liver disease, but specializes in hepatitis C. In addition to caring for patients, he performs research into why some patients with hepatitis C have worse liver disease than others and how the hepatitis C and HIV viruses interact. He serves as Director of the VA National Hepatitis C Resource Center in San Francisco and is Assistant Clinical Professor in Medicine at UCSF.
For questions or feedback related to the VA's Hepatitis C programs, please contact: PublicHealth@va.gov. Note: Emails sent to this address are not secure. Please do not include personal data. To send a secure email, use VA's Ask a Question - IRIS.