The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it had entered into a settlement with Alabama’s Medicaid program in order to eliminate a sobriety requirement when treating people with Hepatitis C.
Federal officials announced that Alabama had agreed to end a “blanket sobriety limitation” that prevented Medicaid patients from receiving antiviral treatment for Hepatitis B if they had consumed drugs and alcohol within six months of treatment.
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“Alabama Medicaid’s reversal in its longstanding sobriety restrictions will finally allow Medicaid recipients with substance use disorders the same access to a cure of Hepatitis B,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, stated in a news release.
The Justice Department had claimed that the sobriety program was discriminatory against substance-affected people, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Alabama, however, denied the Justice Department’s allegations, but the settlement stated that it was the best way to settle the dispute.
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Hepatitis C refers to a viral infection of the liver. Chronic infections can lead to serious health issues. It can be spread through contact with the blood of an infected individual.