Claims made by U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) in a recent Washington Post article that no programs or services have been cut off as a result of the months-long delay are inaccurate, says AHF
Broward County Planning Council in South Florida was recently forced to eliminate funding for three programs as an emergency measure to compensate for the delay in funding distribution
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) criticized the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) agency for delays and mistakes in distributing funds through the Ryan White CARE Act, the largest federal program dedicated to providing care and treatment for people living with HIV. Despite an HHS statement to the contrary, the Foundation says that delays in funding are hurting programs that serve people living with HIV/AIDS across the nation.
The criticism comes on the heels of a Washington Post article (HIV/AIDS funding delay causes problems for D.C. agencies, by Lena H. Sun, August 19, 2011) which states: “Congressional delay in passing a federal budget and internal glitches at the agency responsible for awarding HIV/AIDS safety net funds have held up critical dollars that pay for basic medical care and essential support for more than 500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, officials and advocates said Friday.”
The article points to bureaucratic issues at HHS and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as the primary reason for the delay saying: “In addition, HRSA had staff turnover that led to some errors in calculating awards and a backlog at its office in charge of grants, adding to the slowdown, agency officials told advocates and providers in a conference call in early August, according to participants in the call.”
Though the Post reported that, “Officials said they were not aware of any services cut off as a result of the months-long delay,” that is not accurate. According to AHF, which operates sixteen HIV/AIDS treatment centers in the U.S. including one in Washington D.C. and three in Florida—the Broward County Planning Council in South Florida was recently forced to eliminate funding for three programs as an emergency measure to compensate for the delay in distribution of funding.
“It is shameful that bureaucratic errors and delays at HHS are hurting HIV/AIDS programs causing decreased access to lifesaving medical services for low-income Americans living with HIV/AIDS – especially during these tough economic times when people are relying on these services more than ever,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We call on HHS to do all that is in their power to ensure that these funds are distributed without further delay.”
In addition to the changes to the cuts to some Florida AIDS service organizations, there were other aggressive changes made to the Broward County programmatic funding structure in response to uncertainty regarding how the funds will ultimately be distributed because of the delays.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and services to more than 181,000 individuals in 26 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe. www.aidshealth.org.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AHF Assoc. Dir. of Communications
KEYWORDS: United States North America California District of Columbia Florida
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health AIDS Hospitals Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Public Policy White House/Federal Government Consumer Gay & Lesbian General Health