VA now transplanting kidneys that are positive for hepatitis C

Some Veterans on waiting list may be eligible for procedure

Underscoring its mission of improving the quality of life for Veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently began offering a new option to patients awaiting kidney transplants: organs that are positive for hepatitis (hep) C.

In early March, a team from the Iowa City VA (ICVA) Health Care System (HCS) successfully transplanted hep C positive kidneys into four Veteran patients, then immediately began the treatment process to cure the viral infection that causes liver inflammation.

“At VA, we have the ability to quickly adopt medical advancements almost as soon as they are reported in medical literature,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Providing high quality procedures, such as innovative organ transplants, illustrates the good stewardship of our resources and VA’s commitment to Veterans and the American people.”

Dr. Daniel Katz, transplant surgery director for the ICVAHCS, said VA was quick to understand the bigger picture and the long-term, cost-savings potential of the new procedure.

“The high cost of hep C treatment may hinder rapid adoption of this practice in the private sector, where the transplant center may not be reimbursed for the hep C treatment,” Katz said. “Even with the hep C treatment, though, there will be cost savings over time by removing patients from dialysis.”

The ICVAHCS transplant team has successfully conducted more than 475 organ transplants and is on track to reach 500 in 2020. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common bloodborne disease in the United States. VA has treated and cured more HCV patients than any other HCS in the country, and is on track to eliminate the HCV in about a month in all Veterans willing and able to be treated. As of March 3, nearly 116,000 Veterans started all-oral hep C medications in VA, of which 96,654 Veterans completed treatment and have been cured.

Part of a VA treatment program, U.S. Navy Veteran Jack Jones was cured of hep C more than two years ago. But Jones still needed a new kidney.

On March 8, the ICVAHCS offered to transplant his kidney, then cure the hep C that it carried through a similar process that had cured him before. Jones jumped at the chance, and his transplant was successfully completed the next day.

“I would recommend this [procedure], and the VA, to anyone,” said Jones, who is now back to his regular life at home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Other VA Transplant Centers also provide Veterans the opportunity to choose to receive hep C positive donor organs with post-transplant treatment. Participating centers include William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin (liver and heart); Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia (heart); VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, Oregon (liver); Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, Tennessee (liver and heart); and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (liver).

Visit for more information about the hep C organ transplant team.

VA leads the country in hepatitis screening, testing, treatment, research and prevention. For more information about VA’s research in this area, visit


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National Mid-year Conference in Corpus Christi Updates

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Latest updates on the 2019 National Midyear Conference being held in Corpus Christi Texas April 28 thru May 1, 2019 at the Radisson Hotel Corpus Christi Beach. Registration has been set. Conference Coordinators, Past National Commander Angel Zuniga has joined Past National Chairwoman and Conference Chair Patsy Vazquez Contes as Conference Coordinator. They are working to make this a successful mid-year. The Hotel has been selected with room rates set and contracts are in order, the delegate registration fee is also set with registration forms available on this site. For more information complete see below. There still isn’t a site or date for the 2019 National Conference.

Registration for Forum and Women is set at $150.00 before March 28, 2019. After that date and on site it will increase to $175.00Youth will start at $100.00 and increase to $125.00  after March 28. Non-members will stay at $175.00. Payment can be made by check or money order. Cash will not be accepted on-site. There is a $35.00 handling fee for all returned checks. Tickets for lunches and dinners may be made available for non-registered guests. 

For pre-registration, mail completed registration form along with check payable to:

2019 American GI Forum Mid-Year Conference

and mail to:

Conference Coordinator
c/o Angel Zuniga
P.O. Box 16
Robstown, TX 78380

Cancellation minus a 15% penalty will be accepted in writing through February 16, 2019. After that date, registrations are non-refundable. Refunds will be issued after the conference.

Please make your reservations with the hotel prior to the deadline to receive conference rates. Please let the Hotel know if you require special accommodations.

Hotel Information:

Radisson Hotel Corpus Christi Beach
3200 E. Surfside Blvd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78402
Room Rates: Sunday-Tuesday $129.00
Reservations Direct: (361) 883-9700

Contact Informafion:

Patsy Vazquez Contes
(361) 232-8296
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Angel Zuniga
(361) 563-9353
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National Office
(719) 299-4838

Updates on reservations and hotel accomodations will be posted on this site. Please registert prior to the deadlines to receive discount and Hotel conference rates. Please let us know if you require special assistance on registration and hotel accommodations.




Press Release 




August 19, 2017





Angel Zuniga, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


(719) 299-4838, (361) 563-9353 cell


American GI Forum of the United States Condemns Hate Groups Activities


Corpus Christi, TX – The American GI Forum of the United States (AGIFUS) strongly opposes any US public official that tolerates the actions and ideologies of any hate group.  


It is the duty of public officials to protect the fundamental rights, interests, and welfare of the people of this nation.


The AGIFUS adamantly denounce hate groups and the purposeful acts of violence they commit against the citizens and immigrants of this nation.  


The idealism and activities espoused by these hate groups go against the democratic principles this nation was founded upon and has jeopardized our relationship with other nations, as well as harm our people.


Any continued rhetoric supporting hatred by public and government officials cannot be tolerated and must be met with the highest level of public censure. 


About the AGIFUS


The AGIFUS is dedicated to addressing problems of discrimination and inequities endured by Hispanic veterans. Through the efforts of the organization’s early leadership, the AGIF has grown to over 40 chapters across the nation and was chartered by Congress in 1998.  Today AGIF advocates for “ALL” veterans, their families, and continues its charitable work in local communities across the nation. 

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