Save Dr. Cecil's Clinic
and the Lives of HCV Patients at Louisville VAMC Clinic
In 1997, Dr. Cecil joined the staff of Veterans Administration
Medical Center (VAMC) in Louisville Kentucky. At that
time the VA hospital did not treat any Hepatitis C
positive veterans. Dr. Cecil changed that by focusing
his practice on infected patients. As a result
of customized treatment regimes, Louisville VAMC now
has the highest number of patients receiving treatment
within the VA system.
In the process, Dr. Cecil became a great advocate
for HCV infected veterans and military personnel.
He opened his heart, and a website, for people to
contact him directly with questions or concerns. He
answered all his mail personally. The website
has become a pillar of information for the medical
profession in general. Dr. Cecil's understanding of
hepatitis c and the treatment process plus, his compassion
and caring nature, has produced success rates that
surpasses all VAMC clinics.
Many professionals in the medical community turn to
him for guidance. One would think the Veterans Administration
would consider modeling it's facilities after the
Dr. Cecil's clinic. Instead, he is no longer allowed
to treat his former HCV patients and all new patients
will be treated by the University of Louisville.
The reason, Dr. Cecil was told he is too busy for
any more patients. Dr. Cecil disputes that excuse
and feels the reason is that he spends money to treat
his patients. Money the VA does not want to spend.
On many occasions Dr. Cecil has issued a prescription
for his patients only to have it put in a drawer by
the pharmacy. When Dr. Cecil asked why they
won't fill it, the pharmacy stated they did not have
the money to purchase the drugs.
The Veterans Administration allocates up to $40,000
for treatment of each HCV patient. But the money is
not allocated to the clinics for treatment. The money
goes to 22 Directors of the Veterans Integrated Services
Networks (VISNs.) The money is then distributed to
area VAMCs. VISN's have been under fire for
some time now.
According to the General Accounting Office report
released on April 25, 2000, the VA spent only one-fifth
of the budgeted amount on treatment for HCV patients.
The testimony in oversight suggest money earmarked
for HCV is being used to save a failing health care
system. The sad part is no one really knows the actual
number of patients, past or present, that were treated,
including the Director of the HCV program for Veterans,
The lack of treatment for infected patients is also
the focus of study published in the Am Journal of
Gastroenterology, Jan 2002. The study clearly shows
the restrictions placed on VA outpatient HCV treatment
programs and suggests that impact of treatment is
small. Veterans had a 1.4% chance of clearing the
virus while the national standards boosted a 42% clear
Although the VA states a firm commitment to provide
a treatment program to deliver the highest quality
care to veterans with hepatitis C, it is obvious,
this is not the case.
Since October, the Louisville VAMC has referred over
200 patients for outpatient treatment. Of that number,
only three were given prescription to start treatment.
Two patients with cirrhotic livers waited five months
for an appointment only to be rescheduled two months
later. Seven months without a physical exam.
VA clinics like Dr. Cecil's are held to strict guidelines
and accountable if they overspend. In Dr. Cecil's
case, politically punished. The VA wants money for
HCV veterans but does not want to spend the money
to treat them. Dr. Cecil's battles to remain
open are not new. He has challenged the VA and
the way it manages the treatment of HCV patients.
The Veterans Administration threatened him with closure
last year, but granted a reprieve after Veterans and
Patients rallied to stop it. Dr. Cecil was permitted
to treat up to 300 patients. Despite that promise,
Dr. Cecil was told to close his doors to new and former
patients at the most successful clinic in the VA system.
Despite that promise, the budget to treat these 300
veterans was not allocated.
Despite that promise, Dr. Cecil was punished for prescribing
treatment for too many veterans.
This is NOT the highest quality of care for veterans.
We want an explanation! Dr. Cecil's commitment to
veterans turned around Louisville Vets survival rates.
Please stand up and help us stop the political maneuver
to "phase out " Dr. Cecil because he treats
The money has been allocated and we want it spent
on hepatitis C patients. Next week, May 24th,
Veterans with Hepatitis C's Movement for Awareness
will March on the Veterans Administration with fellow
AO/Gulf War veterans to demand the broken promises
and white wash of veterans health care be stopped.
We will call upon Anthony Principi to explain to HCV
veterans now receive second rate medical care.
Why there was not enough money
in the Louisville clinic for the medications.
Why Dr. Cecil was punished instead
Please sign the petition.
Help Save Dr. Cecil's Clinic
and the Lives of HCV Patients at Louisville VAMC!
Hepatitis C's Movement for Awareness
I thought this was very clear
and deserved a response from the Veterans Administration.
They chose to ignore it.