Health officials say multi-specialty Hepatitis C, HIV clinic at Franciscan Health Hammond first of its kind in Indiana • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
HIV HepC Clinic

Health officials say multi-specialty Hepatitis C, HIV clinic at Franciscan Health Hammond first of its kind in Indiana

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HIV HepC Clinic
Jolietta Holliman, right, Franciscan Health Foundation, guides Eduardo Alvarado, left, Illinois Department of Public Health and Dennis Stover, Indiana Department of Health, around the Multi-Specialty Hepatitis C and HIV Clinic at Franciscan Health Hammond. (Photo provided by Franciscan Health)

Indiana and Illinois state health representatives on Dec. 6 toured what officials say is the first-of-its-kind clinic in Indiana, which aims to fill an urgent need to test and treat patients for hepatitis C and HIV.

The clinic is located on the first floor of Franciscan Health Hammond, 5454 Hohman Ave., and will serve both the Northwest Indiana and South Suburban Chicago communities.  

Dennis Stover, director of HIV, STD and viral hepatitis for the Indiana Department of Health, said the clinic is a first for Indiana, adding, “I think it’s a model for the country.”

“We know the HIV arena organized very early and it had a lot of community behind it,” Stover said.  The hepatitis C community does not have that, so marrying up HIV and hepatitis C is very important to not have to relearn those lessons that we learned in the ‘80s.”

Jolietta Holliman, director of the hepatitis C program, Franciscan Health Foundation, said automated calls have started going out to the Franciscan Alliance network, letting those born between 1945 and 1965 know that they should be screened for hepatitis C.

Historically, the greatest burden of the hepatitis C virus has been among baby boomers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends they be screened at least once in their lifetime apart from other risk factors.

“We now have curative hepatitis C medications, and we know that the rates of coinfection of hepatitis C among those that are also living with HIV and AIDS is significant and it’s a huge public health priority for Illinois and our partners across the state in Indiana,” said Eduardo Alvarado, chief of the HIV/AIDS section for the Illinois Department of Public Health. “So whatever we can do to align resources to synergize seamless entry to care we champion. We would love to see this kind of model flourish and replicate throughout Illinois and Indiana.”

The clinic also has a partnership with the Pharmacotherapy Clinic to offer support in prescribing, preauthorization, medication counseling and patient assistance. While there are drugs that can cure hepatitis C, these drugs are often cost-prohibitive for many to purchase, health officials said. 

Dr. Claude Foreit, vice president of Franciscan Physician Network said the clinic is the culmination of great work on the part of Holliman and Sun Lee-Such, Franciscan Health administrative director of pharmacy services for Northern Indiana and South Suburban Chicago Division.

“Hopefully it will be a great resource for Hammond, Northwest Indiana and the Calumet City Region,” he said.


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