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A Broken Healthcare System Means Delays in Hep C Care

Healthcare is not functioning well, and although COVID is being blamed, the pandemic is not necessarily the root cause. There were existing failings that unquestionably were worsened by the extraordinary burden that COVID provided. The exacerbation of chronic shortages of healthcare personnel brought new challenges, as care providers experienced burnout like we had never seen. Wait times for a long list of procedures, tests, scans, and even primary care increased to levels we had never before experienced.

Hepatitis C patients need more than triage

This is not about blame, however. Rather, my hope is that the experiences of COVID will force healthcare delivery systems everywhere to take a long and thoughtful look at how and why we are at the place we are now, and how we can better address pandemics, as there surely will be more down the road. Specifically, it is critical that we look at ways to improve things like care access, whatever that looks like, and take more responsibility for providing it, even if the case is not critical.

Where I receive care, what I see is simply triage, even for the more urgent cases. Because of my work and inside knowledge, I am lucky in terms of my own care, but this is not true for everyone. I know this because people share their struggles for access to hep C care with me. Recently, I spoke to a client who first started with testing and treatment nearly a year ago and is only now finally being treated. They were given a list of reasons for the delays, according to our conversations. By and large, assessing someone for treatment and initiating treatment/monitoring is easy and should not take long at all.

Delays in healthcare are universal to all conditions

In hearing similar experiences, it is clearly not a rare situation, and not unique to diagnosing and treating hep C. Delayed cancer treatments, delayed surgeries, and worse seems to be the norm. This is not a criticism of doctors, nurses, or any person or group of care providers. We are all patients or family and friends of patients at some point in our lives unless we are super lucky. We deserve better than what is experienced far too often now.

We have the power to affect change

What can be done to fix or repair this reality?
As a society, we need to participate in the solution, when able.
What can that look like?
An easy thing we can do is to advocate with local or national organizations that are working hard to affect positive change. How little and how much you can participate is up to you, but your voice can make a difference, and please use it. It does matter. It matters more than you can imagine, and I know you can make a difference in your own health and that of others. As people with lived or living experience we have an important role and we need to stay true to the words, “Nothing about us without us.”

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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