Free Hepatitis Screening For Local Baby Boomers
South Caldwell Christian Ministries (SCCM) will coordinate free hepatitis C screening for their local baby boomer clients thanks to grant funding from the Broyhill Family Foundation, Inc.
The screenings will be delivered in conjunction with Edward Bujold, MD at Granite Falls Family Medical Care Center. The process will include three phases, while funding is available. Phase one will provide screening and education for current SCCM clients who fall into the baby boomer category, people born between 1946 and 1964.
Phase two, could open the testing to any baby boomer in southern Caldwell County (Hudson, Granite Falls, Rhodhiss) who does not have insurance coverage. Phase three could open this testing to all of Caldwell County’s baby boomers. Additional phases are contingent on funding availability.
“The CDC recommends that all baby boomers be tested for Hepatitis C, so this is obviously important for our clients,” said Debra Thomas, Director of SCCM. “Since the health department is not able to provide routine Hepatitis C screenings, its
important to assist our uninsured population with this service”.
Thomas wrote the grant request to fund the program. It was awarded almost immediately by the Broyhill Foundation.
The CDC recommends that all baby boomers be tested for Hepatitis C. Although the screening consists of a simple blood test, it is often not a part of normal medical screenings.
According to the CDC web site, “Baby boomers are 5 times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults. Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. Most people with hepatitis C do not know they are infected. Since many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or feeling sick, testing is critical so those who are infected can get treated and cured.”
In addition to providing blood screenings for hepatitis C, the $6000 grant will also help pay for education materials for the general public. Thomas believes they should be able to pay for the testing of approximately 375 people without insurance. The test is covered for people with medicare and most private insurance plans.
In addition to Granite Falls Family Medical Care Center, additional partners in the program include Forbes Printing, who will provide promotional support, and LabCorp, who will provide the tests at a discounted rate.
For more information on the program, please call SCCM at (828) 396-4000 or Granite Falls Familyh Medical Care Center at (828) 396-3168.