AHCCCS Policy Change Assisting the Response
Maricopa County is part of a statewide hepatitis A outbreak mostly affecting folks experiencing homelessness, substance use and/or recent incarceration. 229 people have been reported with the disease and more than 80% have been hospitalized. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is working with community partners to vaccinate the people at highest risk... both to protect them from getting sick and to stop the disease from spreading further.
The public health response consists of: 1) vaccinating everyone in the county jail system for the next 8 months; 2) deploying vaccination and service strike teams (with other organizations); and 3) partnering with cities and parks to go to homeless encampments and offer vaccination in Strike Teams.
They're recruiting volunteer healthcare providers and screeners (no healthcare experience needed) for the vaccine outreach events. If you're interested in volunteering, please contact PHVolunteer@maricopa.gov.
In addition, AHCCCS now covers medically necessary covered immunizations for people 19 years of age and up when the vaccines are administered by AHCCCS registered providers through county health departments. Immunizations are covered even if the AHCCCS registered provider isn't in the member’s health plan network. The list of covered vaccinations includes (but isn't necessarily limited to) Hepatitis A & B and Measles.
Policy changes like this make a big difference in the effectiveness of public health interventions like the ones associated with this Hep A outbreak - and they also sets up a system that will be better able to prevent future outbreaks.