The Hepatitis C Mentor & Support Group, Inc. (HCMSG)
The Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group (HCMSG) was founded to address the lack of awareness, support, and services for people living with Hepatitis C,including patients Co-infected with other conditions such as HCV/HIV, and patients in need of or living with liver transplants.
To address these needs, we provide resources and services to foster the development and operation of successful support groups for Hepatitis C and Co-infected patients. These services are provided to prospective and current support group facilitators free of charge. We also provide one-on-one mentoring services to Hepatitis C and liver transplant patients.
Right now, a revolution in the treatment of Hepatitis C is underway. New generation (DAA's) direct-acting antivirals have recently become available, and an even more promising new class of drugs are in development and testing. These drugs offer the promise of a cure for individual patients, and the ability to stem an emerging healthcare crisis for society. The new drugs will be easier for patients to tolerate.
Medical providers are seeing a overwhelming flood of patients now that the new treatments have become the standard of care. These factors make supportive services like those the HCMSG is ready to provide more important than ever. Patient support groups, mentoring, and related services have been shown to be important elements in overall healthcare to reduce costs and improve medical outcomes. These services also improve the quality of life for patients with difficult, chronic conditions like Hepatitis C and Co-infection.
If the promise of new Hepatitis C drugs is to be realized, better testing, diagnosis, linkage to care, and supportive services must be made available to patients from every walk of life. HCMSG programs will increase the provision of support services to people affected by Hepatitis C regardless of race, gender, orientation, or economic status. Special attention will be directed toward underserved populations and geographic areas.
The Hepatitis C Support Group Assistance Program
The Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Inc. was formed to address the lack of supportive services for people living with Hepatitis C, including patients Co-infected with other conditions such as, HCV/HIV and Pre/Post Liver transplant. The founder is a Hepatitis C patient and advocate.
To meet the organization’s goal, the Hepatitis C Support Group Assistance Program was established to provide resources and services nationwide to hospitals, clinics, other organizations, including substance abuse communities and individuals wanting to establish or run Hepatitis C, Co-infection HCV/HIV, and Pre/Post liver transplant patient support groups. These services are provided free of charge.
The services include:
- Training and training materials on support group meeting facilitation, education on HCV and Co-infection, as well as the importance of advocacy. *One-on-one consultation with new or current facilitators is also provided.
- Tele-Support-The same training as above only provided via conference call. This has proven to be needed where it is logistically not possible to be, for those in rural areas or for those who cannot attend in person. This fills various needs such as trainings for facilitators and groups for patients in areas where there is no support and education available.
- A roster of experts to speak at support group meetings on topics such as Hepatitis C disease and treatment research findings, drugs in development, navigating insurance, nutrition, relaxation and other lifestyle issues;
- An informational website (www.hepatitisCmsg.org), blog, and social media updates to help facilitators and their medical advisors stay up-to-date on other Hepatitis C-related sites, reports and conference highlights, disease and treatment research, drugs in development, training and advocacy opportunities, and other topics of interest. The website includes a list of all Hepatitis C support groups in New York State. It also includes information on programs to help uninsured or underinsured patients get treatment drugs at reduced or no cost.
- HCMSG Patient Support Newsletter is geared to help patients, with questions to ask medical providers, definitions of medical terms, provides resources such as patient assistance programs, and the latest information on new and future treatments collaborated and provided by medical advisors from leading New York hospitals.
- Meetings and conference calls with medical providers and support group facilitators to share information, resources and best practices.
The Hepatitis C Support Group Assistance Program will act as a central hub for Hepatitis C support group facilitators to provide accurate and up-to-date information and facilitate the sharing of resources and skills.