CalHEP Newsletter
April 12 2010
Volume 5, Issue 3 and 4
In This Issue
Update on Viral Hepatitis Prevention Bills
Funding for HCV Treatment Initiatives
Free Vaccines for Low-Income US Adults
Certain Syrings More Likely to Spread HCV

CapitolGreetings to you all. I am very excited about the April edition of the CalHEP newsletter. We have had great success in the first quarter of 2010 and look forward to our ongoing policy work to support ACR 141, AB 2600, AB 1858 and SB 1029 at the state level and H.R. 3974 on the national front. For an update read our advocacy section below. For a full report on legislative activities, routinely visit our CalHEP website.
Michele Peterson
Associate Director CalHEP

State Legislative Efforts for Viral Hepatitis Prevention

As you know California Hepatitis Alliance (CalHEP), is very pleased to have assisted in the drafting and now the on going support of two syringe access bills. In addition, we are delighted to announce our support for Assembly Woman Ma's bill related to Hepatitis prevention which is moving through the Legislature, and we are also elated to be supporting the 2010 Resolution for Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day in California once again this year!

Senate Bill 1029 (SB 1029), authored by State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), would allow pharmacists statewide the discretion to sell up to 30 syringes to an adult without a prescription. Currently 14 counties and 4 cities participate in a pilot program that allows adults to purchase and possess ten or fewer syringes from a pharmacy. The statutes that authorized this pilot will expire the last day of 2010. Senator Yee's bill will take the policy statewide, reducing cost and procedural barriers to implementation. SB 1029 passed its first policy committee, Senate Health, by a vote of 9-3 on March 24th. Its hearing in Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development has been rescheduled for the afternoon of April 19th. If it passes that committee, it will be referred to Senate Appropriations before going to the floor of the full Senate.

Assembly Bill 1858 (AB 1858), authored by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys), would allow California Department of Public Health to authorize syringe exchange services in locations where the conditions exist for the rapid spread of viral hepatitis, HIV or other potentially deadly or disabling diseases. On April 6th, AB 1858 passed Assembly Health Committee with 11 in favor, 5 against and 3 abstaining. It has been referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration. The date of the Appropriations hearing is not set as of the printing of this article. It will be heard on the floor of the State Assembly later this Spring.
Assembly Bill 2600 (AB 2600) introduced by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), amends medical continuing education requirements. Existing law requires the Medical Board of California to establish
continuing education requirements for physicians and surgeons, and requires the board to consider including various courses in determining its continuing education requirements. This bill would require the board to consider including a course in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis. AB 2600 will be heard in the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protections Committee on April 20th. We encourage you to fax a letter of support to 919-319-2112.
 Assembly Concurrent Resolution 141 (ACR 141)was introduced by Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) declaring May 19, 2010 to be Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day in California. World Hepatitis Day will be observed on May 19 by thousands of individuals and organizations globally. We are proud to have this resolution added to those being initiated by many states and countries. CaHEP is collecting signatures from organizations and individuals in California by April 20th. The letter will be delivered to Assemblyman Blakeslee's office on April 21st. Please join CalHEP and our associates at the San Luis Obispo County AIDS Support Network, and the SLO Hepatitis C Project in showing our great appreciation to Assembly Member Blakeslee by adding your organization to the the list of signatures.

Deadline: 5pm, Tuesday, April 20, 2010
To sign, send an email to Michele, with the following information: name of organization, city, and contact person.

It will take months more of hearings and advocacy by organizations like ours before these bills end up on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Stay tuned to CalHEP for advocacy alerts.

These bills are consistent with the recommendations of the California Department of Public Health, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and other national and international public health leaders. CalHEP strongly believes that passage of AB 1858 and SB 1029 will help reduce the spread of viral hepatitis in the state, and set the stage for best practices and best use of federal disease prevention dollars made available to California.
SPNS Funding for Hepatitis C Treatment Expansion Initiatives: Demo Sites and Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center
Demonstration Sites
These awards will support organizations funded under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act of 2009 to implement and evaluate successful interventions designed to provide hepatitis C (HCV) treatment in the context of Ryan White-funded HIV primary care. View the application guidance (HRSA-10-090). For more information contact Pamela Belton or 301/443-4461. Deadline is April 20, 2010.
Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center
This award will support one center to conduct a multi-site evaluation of interventions designed to provide hepatitis C (HCV) treatment in the context of Ryan White-funded HIV primary care. The center will conduct a rigorous evaluation and provide technical assistance across selected organizations implementing HCV treatment models. View the application guidance (HRSA-10-216). Deadline is May 3, 2010.

In the Spotlight -- Support Viral Hepatitis Appropriations Funding.
Liver Cancer Free. NVHR is working with the  Chinese American Medical Society Mid-Atlantic Chapter, the Hepatitis B Foundation and AAPCHO to host this website dedicated to advocating for increased funding for viral hepatitis. Please use this website to send an email urging Congress  to increase funding for viral hepatitis to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Take action now!
Click hereto see how CalHEP member, Yvonne Frazier, personalized her letter to Senator Feinstein. Great job, Yvonne!


GSK to provide free vaccines to low-income U.S. adults
GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant with North American headquarters in Research Triangle Park, has unveiled a new program that will provide free vaccines to low-income U.S. adults who lack insurance coverage. GSK (NYSE: GSK) said it will provide eligible adults with free vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Adults with no health coverage and incomes not exceeding 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($27,075 for a single person household or $36,425 for a couple) are eligible for the program. Triangle Business Journal - by Jeff Drew

To learn more about the vaccine access program click here

CalHEP Event

May 19th, CalHEP will sponsor a legislative briefing in Sacramento.
Stay tuned for more details.

NVHR event 3974


May 19th  World Hepatitis Alliance


Certain Syringes More Likely To Spread Hepatitis C Virus Among Drug Users
New Haven, Conn. - A Yale School of Medicine study reveals that the high prevalence of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) among injection drug users may be partly due to the resilience of the virus in certain types of syringes. This is believed to be the first study establishing the survival of HCV in contaminated syringes and the duration of potential infectiousness. February 15, 2010, Yale University Office of Public Affairs; for the release, click here.
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