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Advisor: J Plumb MD, MPH; Thomas Jefferson University, College of Graduate Studies, Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA


The purpose of this study is to determine the formal and informal viral hepatitis screening policies and actual practices of Philadelphia’s Methadone Maintenance programs (MMC). Questionnaires (Appendix 1) were distributed to the Medical Directors of the fourteen MMC that are contracted to Philadelphia’s Office of Addiction Services. The questionnaires were completed by the Medical Director, Program Director, or other qualified staff member, returned via email or fax and later discussed or completed during a conversation with the investigator. Questions were asked regarding the facility-specific written policies and actual practices of screening clients for hepatitis. The incidence of viral hepatitis in their center was also requested. A qualitative analysis was performed to assess the uniformity of the practices city-wide as well as the overall use of government-provided resources for a standardized, complete evaluation of the infection and immunization status of incoming and continually enrolled clients. It was determined that despite uniformly reimbursed evaluations, written policies and actual evaluation practices of screening for viral hepatitis varied at individual MMC. Not all written policies were obtained, and not all practices have been discussed at this time. Given differing client populations, making screening practices uniform across all centers is not logical; however ensuring complete screening through a revamping of practices and efficient use of government funding, procedures can be individualized to each program’s needs and capabilities. Finally, the interest and feasibility of integrating a vaccination program executed by an outside organization into standard practice is inquired upon during interviews with MMC representatives and will be included in the results of the study.