|[March 16, 2014]
AHF Praises Bi-Partisan Introduction of the Ryan White "Patient Equity and Choice Act" Bill
WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--
Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization,
joined a number of other organizations including HIV/AIDS medical
providers, social service organizations, municipalities and local
representatives as well as community churches in praising the
introduction of the "Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act" (HR
4260), a bill to make needed improvement to the Ryan White
Comprehensive AIDS Resource Emergency Act (RWCA) program to
ensure that funding allocations are evidenced based, and that funding
targets interventions that get people in to care and help them stay
there. The new bill, introduced in Congress late Friday, is authored and
sponsored by Renee Ellmers, (R, NC, 2nd District) and
co-sponsored by Eddie Bernice-Johnson (D, TX, 30th
District) and Bennie Thompson, (D, MS, 2nd District).
Upon the introduction of the bill, Congresswoman Ellmers (R, NC, 2nd
District), a member of the House Health subcommittee that oversees Ryan
White, made the following statement:
"I'm pleased to have worked with the North Carolina HIV community to
address some of the problems associated with HIV funding inequities
occurring between the states. That's why I'm proud to introduce a new
bill today - The Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act - to require
HHS to study their formula and address the problems facing millions of
HIV patients across the country. As a nurse, I have seen firsthand the
pain and anxiety that an HIV-positive diagnosis can cause and look
forward to seeing this bill quickly move through the House of
Representatives," said the Congresswoman.
"On behalf of our nationwide network of HIV community advocates and
allies, AHF is thrilled to support the introduction of the Ryan White
Patient Equity and Choice Act," said Michael Weinstein, President
of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "The leadership shown by Congresswoman
Ellmers in introducing this bill, along with that of Congressman
Thompson and Congresswoman Bernice Johnson, clearly demonstrates that
Congress cares about the future of the Ryan White program and our
ability to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. This bill will help begin to
ensure funding follows the HIV epidemic where it is growing, and that
Ryan White is better focused on ensuring more people get the care they
need to stay healthy and become noninfectious to others."
Since last November, AHF and its partners have helped set the stage for
Congressional action of the lifesaving US AIDS program by spearheading a
bipartisan effort to educate legislators and congressional staff on
suggested changes in the new bill. Over the past week, stakeholders and
constituents from 12 states for meetings with ver 50 congressional
offices. In a letter signed by over 54 HIV medical providers, social
service organizations, municipalities and local representatives as well
as community churches, supporters urged members of congress to
"align Ryan White with new knowledge on the best approaches to control
the epidemic. Most critically, we must ensure the program is focused on
eliminating gaps in the number of people with HIV who are knowledgeable
of their status, linked to and retained in care, and adherent to their
prescribed medications - as illustrated by the 'HIV care continuum.'"
The letter also states that, "Eliminating gaps in care has become even
more important as we have learned more about the impact of treatment on
preventing the spread of the HIV. New studies have shown that the less
of the virus a person has in him, the harder it is to transmit that
virus and infect others. In fact, people with HIV on successful
treatment are 100% non-infectious."
"This bill addresses gaps in HIV care that are not filled by other
providers in our health care system," said Tim Boyd, AHF Director
of Domestic Policy. "Providers such as Medicaid and private insurance do
not cover services like HIV care retention services, HIV medical case
management, and treatment adherence services - things that are essential
to saving lives and stopping the spread of HIV. Moreover, these
providers do not have the HIV expertise of the CARE Act."
"This year I celebrated 25 years of living with this virus. At that time
I was diagnosed there was no true treatment. At that time I was given 3
months to live. I was a young man planning my funeral. I am still here
25 years later and not just here but thriving is because Congress
responded to this epidemic and helped me get into care and start
treatment," said Art Jackson, an HIV Advocate from North Carolina
who came to Washington D.C. to support the new bill. "With this bill we
can help ensure that thousands more like me in areas where the epidemic
is growing can get the HIV care they need. By doing this, we will not
only be savings lives, but we can reverse the spread of HIV," said Geneva
Galloway, a North Carolina HIV advocate.
"I am proud to see Mississippi supporting this bill," said Luke
Versher, an advocate from Jackson, Mississippi. "The HIV epidemic is
destroying our communities and I came here to tell Congress that we
cannot afford to wait any longer to ensure that Ryan White prioritizes
access to care in Mississippi."
"I have heard from many groups that now is not the time for Congress to
make changes to Ryan White. To me, this is just defending the status quo
in which people with HIV are not in care and new infections are not
going down," said Ed Jones, an HIV advocate from Texas. "The
status quo harms Texas and many other states because it means funding is
not following the epidemic and that there will be a lack of focus on the
HIV care continuum."
About The Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act:
The Act ensures services that directly address the HIV continuum of
care are prioritized
Linkage, retention, and treatment adherence services are clearly
defined as "Core Medical Services".
Incentives grantees to prioritize the provision of continuum services
in their community.
Ensures that care is coordinated and led by experienced providers.
The Act helps ensure that areas where the epidemic is growing will
have the necessary resources to eliminate gaps in the continuum of care
HRSA is required to examine the level of funding equity between states
and eligible areas receiving Ryan White funding, and submit a plan to
Congress to ensure that funding does not vary more than 5 percent per
person with HIV among each state and area.
The Act supports better treatment adherence and health outcomes by
promoting patient-centered care and choice
Establishes a Special Project of National Significance (SPNS) that
will develop a model of patient-centered care. As part of this effort,
grantees will assess the extent to which patient centered care is
incorporated into in their area, and HRSA will examine how to
incorporate patient-centered care throughout the Ryan White program.
Requires states to implement an ADAP pharmacy network that includes
specialty pharmacies that focus on the HIV population. In addition, it
protects privacy and supports better adherence by enabling patients to
choose whether or not they want to use mail-order pharmacy services.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS
healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care
and/or services to more than 289,000 individuals in 32 countries
worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe,
and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook (News - Alert): www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter (News - Alert) & Instagram: @AIDSHealthcare
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