Here’s an interesting take on the HCV population among Veterans. Being viewed through rose-colored spectacles as always, it seems we’re either healing ourselves via IFN SVR or God is busy curing us.
It’s not until you get to the end of the article that you discover how they are now counting us. On page 56 (of 61 pages), we see this:
Table A.1 and A.2 show the number of Veterans with chronic HCV in VHA care by VISN and local healthcare system, respectively, in three recent years. To be counted in a given year, a Veteran must:
Exist in the Clinical Case Registry for HCV and
Have a history of measurable HCV viral load and
Have a hospitalization, outpatient visit, or prescription filled in the VISN ( healthcare system) during the calendar year of interest. A Veteran was counted in each VISN (healthcare system) providing him or her care during the year.
Notice the use of the word “and” rather than “or”. This means all the requirements must be met for a Vet to be counted. Failure to meet even one means you are not
Since there have been no more studies since this one in 2010, it is outdated. Additionally, they use some of the most archaic techniques to measure infection and populations. As a whole, the study is grossly flawed. I’m sure they paid good money for this but it tells us nothing new about the disease process and tries to downplay the long term effects and numbers of the infected. About the only statistic that has validity was the observation that Vietnam Veterans seem to be the ones with the most infections. Duh.
How about this?
Although the total number of Veterans with chronic HCV in VHA care changed little from 2005 to 2008, there was a geographic shift in their distribution toward VISNs in the Southeast. Comparing 2005 to 2008, VISNs with increases of at least 200 Veterans with chronic HCV included VISNs 7 (+455), 6 (+453), and 8 (+270). In contrast, VISNs 3 (-523), 22 (-465), 16 (-386), and 11 (-351) each decreased by more than 300 patients. The shift in geographic distribution may be due in part to Veterans transferring care within VHA and expanded screening and testing for hepatitis C; however additional investigation is required to further understand this geographic shift.
That’s it. They moved to Mississippi but we need to spend about another $2 million studying it to be sure. Those drug-addled Veterans are pretty slippery. It would be just like them to pick up and move or quit coming in for care and screw up our statistics. Mo’ money, honey. Not for the Vets. For us statisticians.