Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) officials announced the creation of a Complex Care Clinic on the hospital’s main campus to treat Hepatitis C patients. HMH established the clinic on the hospital’s main campus to meet growing regional demand.
“Kentucky leads the nation in Hepatitis C infection rate,” said Laura Buchanan, M.D., HMH gastroenterologist and clinic provider. “This is an epidemic and our new clinic provides treatment services our region desperately needs.”
Buchanan emphasized the importance of educating the community on this disease and getting people the right care.
Hepatitis C (commonly referred to as Hep C) is a serious, blood-borne disease that affects the liver. Buchanan stressed how the disease, which can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks, can be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ donations or blood products prior to 1992, unsterilized tools at tattoo parlors, and recreational drug use. She cautioned that by the time symptoms of the infection appear, liver damage is often advanced.
“In some cases, Hepatitis C can be asymptomatic for years, even decades. Left untreated, it can cause liver damage, liver cancer and even death,” Buchanan said. “Thankfully, there is a cure and the HMH Complex Care Clinic specializes in and offers all Hep C treatments.
In addition to treatment for Hepatitis C, the new clinic can provide Hep C patients with comprehensive primary care services.
“The Complex Care Clinic will do what the name implies: care for the whole patient and provide everything needed for those with complicated illnesses,” Buchanan said.
HMH Chief Medical Officer John Godfrey, M.D. said large healthcare systems across the country are establishing clinics like this one to treat people with Hepatitis C and other chronic diseases.
“HMH is modeling the best practices of some of the nation’s premier healthcare institutions like the Mayo Clinic,” Godfrey said. “While our new clinic is currently treating Hepatitis C patients exclusively, in the future we plan to extend care for other chronic diseases. We continue to work to make sure the 400,000 patients from 10 Central Kentucky counties we serve have easy access to the advanced care they need.”
The clinic is conveniently located in the main hospital with easy access from Woodland Drive and the Blue Parking lot.