A Primary Care-based Collaborative Hepatitis C Clinic: Clinical Structure and Virologic Outcomes with Direct Acting Antiviral Therapy

Samuel B. Ho*, Adrian Dollarhide, Hilda Thorisdottir, James Michelsen, Christine Perry, David Kravetz, Ann Herrin, Laurie Carlson, Sue Hadley, Dan Montoya, Shannon Robinson, Courtney Sanchez, Ernesto Enrique, Erik Groessl
VA San Diego Healthcare System, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

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Creative Commons License
© Ho et al. ; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address Correspondence to this author at the San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161, USA; Tel 858-642-3280; Fax: 858-552-4327; E-mail:



Currently 4 million persons in the US have active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and most have never successfully completed antiviral treatment. Newer therapies herald potential for wider uptake and acceptance of treatment, but the number of hepatology specialists is limited and newer models are needed to increase access to care. The aim of this study is to describe a collaborative primary care-based clinic for HCV treatment.


Retrospective analysis of a collaborative primary care clinic developed for the evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C at one VA medical center. A half-day clinic was organized with 4 primary care MDs, 2 hepatologists, 2 nurse practitioners, and a co-located psychiatrist, pharmacist and nurse case manager. Clinic productivity and outcomes related to the number of patients who initiated and completed treatment with direct acting antivirals (DAA) and pegylated interferon and ribavirin were evaluated.


In this 18 month period, the clinic had 1890 confirmed HCV registry patients and 1690 clinic visits. 74 HCV genotype 1 patients initiated DAA therapy. Primary care providers treated 47 patients (32% cirrhotic) and hepatologists treated 27 patients (48% cirrhotic). Final SVR rate was 54.6% (39.2% cirrhotics vs. 65.2% noncirrhotics). SVR rates were higher in patients with primary care providers (61.7%) vs. hepatologists (44.4%). Despite numerous adverse events, early treatment termination for adverse events occurred in 5.3% vs. 21.3% for virologic non-response. Multivariate analysis revealed no significant differences between primary care and hepatology for SVR and treatment discontinuations.


This clinic demonstrated effectiveness and safety with DAA therapy. This illustrates potential for a primary care based collaborative clinic, which will be crucial for expanding access to effective HCV care.

Keywords: Direct-acting antiviral, Hepatitis C, Pegylated interferon alfa, Ribavirin, Veterans Health Administration.