Hepatitis B Evaluation and Linkage to Care for Newly Arrived Refugees: A Multisite Quality Improvement Initiative
A quality improvement collaborative evaluated Hepatitis B virus (HBV) care for resettled refugees and identified strategies to enhance care. 682 of the 12,934 refugees from five refugee health clinics in Colorado, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania had chronic HBV. Timely care was defined relative to a HBsAg + result: staging (HBV DNA, hepatitis Be antigen, hepatitis Be antibody, alanine transaminase testing) within 14 days, comorbid infection screening (hepatitis C virus and HIV) within 14 days, and linkage to care (HBV specialist referral within 30 days and visit within 6 months). Completed labs included: HBV DNA (93%), hepatitis Be antigen (94%), hepatitis Be antibody (92%), alanine transaminase (92%), hepatitis C screening (86%), HIV screening (97%). 20% had HBV specialist referrals within 30 days; 36% were seen within 6 months. Standardized reflex HBV testing and specialist referral should be prioritized at the initial screening due to the association with timely care.