Hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment changing rapidly

This issue covers topics including management of hepatitis and the effect of new direct-pay practice models on primary care practice.

Available treatments for hepatitis C have exploded over the past 2 years, with approvals for new drugs that can make a cure possible. However, the new therapies are expensive and have raised questions about which patients should get them and which physicians should manage care. Some experts see an opportunity for internists to take charge of hepatitis C, for example, but many insurance companies still require that care be provided by a hepatologist. Meanwhile, changes in screening have been shifting more of the diagnosis to primary care. Stacey Butterfield examines the changing landscape of hepatitis C and offers a snapshot of where it might be going next.

In practice management, some concierge care has been quietly evolving into what is now sometimes termed a “direct pay” model, in which patients pay a monthly or annual fee to their physician for expanded service but the physician does not bill a third-party payer. Some physicians report that this model gives them more time with their patients and allows them to provide more comprehensive care. Others worry, however, that it will reduce care access and continuity. Charlotte Huff talks to supporters and skeptics to determine the pros and cons of this changing model of practice.

It's a new year, 2015, which is also the year of ACP's centennial. You'll be hearing more from us, and from the College, about special events planned to celebrate throughout the year as well as at Internal Medicine Meeting 2015, which will be held in Boston from April 30 through May 2. And every issue of ACP Internist this year will include an article that highlights each of ACP's 10 decades. Find our first installment and learn more about the College from 1915 to 1924.

You may also notice a few differences in our pages in this first issue of 2015. A version of ACP's new logo, launched last April, will now appear with every article that comes directly from the College, including the President's Message, the Washington Perspective, Practice Rx, Practice Tips, and more. In addition, our fonts and colors have been updated throughout the newspaper, giving us a fresh look. We hope you like it!

What are you most looking forward to in 2015? Please let us know. As always, we'd love to hear from you.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse