CalHEP Newsletter
June 2010
Volume 5, Issue 5
In This Issue
World Hepatitis Day Recap
Advocacy Update
Member Spotlight - San Francisco Hep B Free
Refer a New Member
Proposed MediCal Cuts to Methadone Treatment
Hepatitis in the News
Harm Reduction Summer Intensive


I am pleased to share the June edition of the California Hepatitis Alliance's newsletter with you. May was a very busy month, with a host of activities recognizing World Hepatitis Day, which was observed by thousands of individuals and organizations globally. CalHEP and our members supported activities at the state and national level: signing of the Assembly Concurrent Resolution 141 introduced by Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), which declared May 19, 2010 to be Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day in California, and signing of proclamation letters by Governor Schwarzenegger and President Obama  to support World Hepatitis Day. Read below to learn more about our May 19, 2010 activities at the California State Capitol, and our advocacy, awareness, and access updates. We hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter and continue to promote sound public health policy and advocacy efforts to improve California's public health approach to liver wellness.

Michele Peterson
Associate Director CalHEP

World Hepatitis Day Recap

Hepatitis Day 2010 Rally

Stop Hepatitis Rally (photo credit: C.N. Gordon, Help & Education for Liver Patients)

A state resolution, a health policy forum and a rally:  these were just the events in Sacramento. CalHEP members pulled out all the stops this year to commemorate World Hepatitis Day.

Through the efforts of the San Luis Obispo (SLO) County AIDS Support Network, the SLO Hepatitis C Project and the support of many other CalHEP members, Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), put forward a resolution declaring May 19, 2010 to be Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day in California. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 141 (ACR 141) passed in both houses by unanimous consent.

CalHEP supported the California Health Policy Forum's  Forum on Viral Hepatitis at the State Capitol on May 19th. Assemblymembers Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz), along with several CalHEP members, helped to educate legislative and agency staff on the importance of prevention, screening and treatment of viral hepatitis.

Following the forum, the Sacramento Area Task Force for the Outreach and Prevention of Hepatitis (S.T.O.P. Hepatitis Task Force) held a rally on the Capitol steps.

CalHEP member organizations throughout the state held events, succeeded in getting local resolutions passed and worked with the media to raise awareness of the issues related to viral hepatitis. Congratulations on another successful World Hepatitis Day. We're sure many of you have already started to plan for 2011.
Viral Hepatitis Prevention -
California Legislative Update

As you know, the 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 have supported 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. SB 1029 passed its second Senate committee (Business, Professions and Economic Development) in April and has been sent 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.  In May, AB 1858 passed the Appropriations Committee, as well as the Assembly. It will next be heard in the Senate Health Committee.

Assembly Bill 2600 (AB 2600) introduced by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), would require the Medical Board of California to consider including a course in the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis in continuing education requirements. AB 2600 passed the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protections Committee, as well as the Appropriations Committee. In May AB 2600 passed the California State Assembly on by a wide bipartison margin of 56-17. The bill will next be heard in the State Senate Business & Professions Committee.
It will take months more of hearings and advocacy by organizations like ours before these bills end up on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. Visit our website for CalHEP advocacy alerts.

World Health Organization Adopts Resolution on Hepatitis

At the 63rd Assembly, member states adopted a resolution calling for the World Health Organization to develop a comprehensive approach to the prevention and control of hepatitis.

CalHEP Member Spotlight
San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign
(Asian Liver Center at Stanford University)
HepBFree Pageant AdSan Francisco Hep B Free is a citywide campaign to turn San Francisco into the first hepatitis B free city in the nation. This unprecedented campaign will provide free and low-cost hepatitis B testing and vaccinations to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) adults at locations throughout San Francisco. The organization has received a great deal of media coverage related to the launch of their newest social marketing campaign, which is designed to increase screening for hepatitis.
Do You Know Someone Who Should Join CalHEP?
Help Us Reach 100 Members

CalHEP currently has 86 members. We are always interested in connecting with others who are working on viral hepatitis issues and inviting them to participate in CalHEP.

Take a minute to check out our list of current members and see if you know someone who should join (membership is still free). Send them a link to our membership information page, forward this newsletter to them or send us their information and we'll invite them to join.

Thanks for helping us strengthen CalHEP and reduce the scope and consequences of the hepatitis B and C epidemics in California.

MediCal May
Stop Paying for
Methadone Treatment

California's state Medicaid program would stop paying for methadone maintenance under a plan from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that's aimed at cutting $53 million from MediCal. If the state legislature approves the plan, only pregnant women and minors would be eligible for MediCal reimbursement for methadone treatment. The move would cost the state $60 million in federal matching funds. An estimated 35,000 patients would lose coverage under the Governor's plan. A lack of access to methadone could lead to an increase in hepatitis C cases, if individuals shared syringes for injection drug use. Testimony before the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee reports that the Governor's proposed cuts in drug offender and drug Medi-Cal programs would raise other costs as well.
Hepatitis Featured

The May 7th issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) featured an article on the success of California's Adult Hepatitis Vaccine Project (AHVP), which expanded hepatitis B vaccination in sites serving at-risk adults. Over 28,800 doses of HepB vaccine were administered at 29 participating sites in the first 19 months of AHVP; 13 sites administered HepB vaccine for the first time. Another story in the same MMWR issue focused on the increase in hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer.

Online Continuing Medical Education
An online Continuing Medical Education (CME) opportunity is available for reading a supplement of the Journal of Family Practice on viral hepatitis and passing a post-test.

Vaccination and Prevention Are Beating Back Hepatitis
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report has identified progress being made against viral hepatitis. Investigators found that hepatitis B virus infection among people aged 6 to 39 significantly decreased in recent years as a result of vaccination programs. The rate of hepatitis C virus infection is decreasing among people at highest risk of infection, possibly due to prevention programs that target injection drug use and other risky behaviors.

World Hepatitis Day Music Available

The World Hepatitis Alliance worked with musicians from around the world to develop an album which was launched on World Hepatitis Day 2010.  This Day: World Hepatitis Day is for sale on Amazon  and iTunes. World Hepatitis Alliance members can sell the CDs in their country to raise awareness around hepatitis.

Hepatitis Day Album Cover

Harm Reduction Summer Intensive
The Harm Reduction Coalition's Harm Reduction Summer Intensive consists of 35 hours of instruction and is designed as a primer to the history, philosophy, practices and applications of harm reduction for service providers, researchers, administrators and health care workers. Interactive learning activities include presentations, discussions, exercises and readings.

Each day of training can be taken independently, but if there are space limitations, preference will be given to those signing up for three or more days.
Support CalHEP

CalHEP thanks the following corporations for their support: Gilead Sciences Incorporated, Merck and Company Incorporated, Roche/Genentech and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated.
CalHEP is an initiative of the
Center for Health Improvement
1330 21st Street, Suite 100
Sacramento, California 95811

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