BACKGROUND: Co-located hepatitis C treatment at syringe service programs (SSP) is an emerging model of care for people who inject drugs (PWID). Implementation of these models can be informed by understanding the program costs.
METHODS: We conducted an economic evaluation of a hepatitis C treatment intervention at an SSP in New York City implemented as one arm of a randomized trial from 2017 to 2021. Start-up and operating costs were determined from the treatment program’s perspective using micro-costing and were compared to potential Medicaid reimbursement. We applied nationally representative unit costs and wage rates. Results are reported in 2020 USD.
RESULTS: The treatment program was staffed by one physician and one care coordinator. Participants were offered hepatitis C clinical evaluation and treatment, a 45-min reinfection prevention education session, and additional care coordination as needed. The trial enrolled 84 PWID with hepatitis C in the intervention arm; 64 initiated treatment and 55 achieved sustained virological response. Start-up costs including training and equipment totaled $4677. Overhead costs including rent, utilities and software totaled $2229 per month. Clinical and care coordination totaled $4867 per participant, of which $3722 was care coordination. The total cost excluding startup was $6035 per enrolled participant and $7921 per treated participant; estimated potential reimbursement was $628 per enrolled participant.
CONCLUSION: Our results provide insight to US-based SSPs seeking to provide co-located hepatitis C care and highlight the intensive care coordination services provided. Successful implementation likely requires funding sources beyond health insurers or substantial changes to insurance reimbursement for care coordination.
Cost of providing co-located hepatitis C treatment at a syringe service program exceeds potential reimbursement: Results from a clinical trial
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 5, 100109. doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2022.100109. PMCID: PMC9836210.