As we announced this past May, federal partners are working to renew and extend the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis for three more years. Since that announcement, several important activities have been undertaken and I wanted to share this update with readers.
To inform the renewal of the plan, which will span calendar years 2014-2016, we gathered important input and perspectives from community members and other stakeholders through several webinars and a formal Request for Information early this summer. Simultaneously, the federal partners implementing the plan – agencies and offices from across the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Veterans Affairs – set about reviewing their progress to date and developing proposed actions for the three-year extension of the Action Plan.
This past week, these activities came together as representatives of all the participating agencies and offices met for a full-day working meeting to review and discuss both the stakeholder input and the initial drafts of the proposed actions. During that meeting, partners identified opportunities for coordinating efforts as well as new partners to engage. They also discussed prioritization of some of the proposed actions and explored revising or reframing others.
Building on these important activities, all of the federal partners will work to refine and finalize our respective actions for the renewed plan over the coming weeks. My office will then consolidate the actions into the formal document that we hope to have finalized, formally approved, and ready for release early in the new year.
With the renewed Action Plan, we will be able to continue and expand the momentum generated by the original plan as we work together to address the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis in the United States.