August 29, 2008
YOUR ATTENDANCE IS REQUESTED
There are still unanswered questions about managed care
On Wednesday, September 3, at 1pm the New York State Department of Health invites stakeholders to a meeting at St. John's University about the now all-but-inevitable shift of people with HIV/AIDS on Medicaid into managed care. For full meeting details and to RSVP, click here to read the letter, signed by AIDS Institute Director Humberto Cruz and Director of the Division of Managed Care Jay Laudato.
"We welcome the opportunity for an open dialogue," the letter states. Although State Medicaid Director Deborah Bachrach explained to the Update how mandatory HMO will roll out, there are a multitude of concerns about how the process will affect the quality of care for people living with AIDS; how the capacity, standard and access to care will be developed for those not in Special Needs Plans; and how the current level of case management will be maintained.
Click below for suggested questions to ask the Department of Health on Wednesday:..
NOT SEVENTH HEAVEN
If seventh reg not delayed, quality of care would decrease
In June Congress enacted moratoria on six out of seven Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations, but upheld the regulation on Medicaid Reimbursement for Outpatient Services. The regulation shifts reimbursement for outpatient services from Medicaid to the lower-paying and more restrictive Medicare rate. This political stunt would devastate poor and disabled people in 18 states who rely on outpatient Medicaid. Not only would Medicare's lower reimbursement rates jeopardize the quality of existing outpatient services, Medicare simply won't pay for outpatient services such as vision, psychiatric and dental services.
Because of the new regulation New York State could lose more than $450 million in funding for family planning, dialysis, rehabilitation, services for the developmentally disabled, AIDS care and other services. This funding catastrophe would derail the state's plans for meaningful Medicaid reform to shift patients into front line community-based care settings. "There are some family-planning facilities and Planned Parenthoods that might not be able to stay open with this new reimbursement," said Lara Kassel, advocacy coordinator for Medicaid Matters New York. Housing Works President and CEO told Gay City News that if this regulation stays in effect Housing Works won't be able to operate all of its four AIDS Adult Day Healthcare Centers. For an (in progress) spreadsheet from Paterson's office of organizations that will be affected, click here...
ACTION ALERT: TELL YOUR REPS TO PRESSURE HHS!
The American Dream shouldn't be on hold for people with HIV
During the PEPFAR reauthorization, Congress finally voted to end the archaic HIV/AIDS immigration and travel ban. But HIV is still on the Department of Health and Human Services' list of "communicable diseases of public health significance" (The list also includes syphilis, gonorrhea and other diseases that can't be transmitted through casual contact, but we'll talk all about that after Labor Day). So despite this historic Congressional action, people with HIV who want to travel or immigrate to the U.S. are still in legal limbo.
There's political will at HHS and within the Bush administration to take HIV off the list of communicable diseases once and for all. But like everything else, it's easy for this fix to fall to the back burner. Let's make sure the change happens now!
Ask your Representative to co-sign a letter urging the White House to completely abolish the discriminatory travel ban. Click here for a ready-made form to contact your Congress members and remind them that this retrograde policy is still in effect...
CHANGE FROM CHICAGO
Wallace (with AIDS Foundation of Chicago's David Munar) of the Stand Against AIDS
This article is one of a series of Update profiles of men and women who will be leading activist caravans as part of the Stand Against AIDS, a multi-arm, multi-week advocacy roadtrip aimed at getting presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain to commit to taking meaningful steps toward the creation of a National AIDS Plan within 100 days of taking office. The caravans kick off in mid-September and converge in Oxford, Mississippi on September 23 for four days of action. The first debate between Obama and McCain takes place in Oxford on September 26.
When Richard Wallace, 26, started working as an organizer in Chicago, he noticed how the African-American community was hurt by the AIDS epidemic, other health disparities and a disproportionate number of people in prison. After his godfather was infected with HIV, the struggle became personal.
Wallace is the Mississippi River caravan leader for the Stand Against AIDS, which late next week will tell a fellow former Chicago organizer (and Sen. John McCain) to commit to creating a national AIDS plan in the first 100 days of taking office if elected U.S. president. "I see a million people get testing, but if you don't provide simple services like food, water and shelter, then it's all for nothing," Wallace said...