San Francisco, November 29, 2012—On the eve of World AIDS Day, the Obama administration announced that HIV/AIDS will be one of the chronic conditions eligible for enhanced federal reimbursements through Medicaid, garnering strong praise from San Francisco AIDS Foundation and HIV/AIDS leaders around the country. Today’s announcement means people living with HIV/AIDS can continue to rely on expert care from HIV specialists who, in turn, will receive enhanced reimbursements as the Affordable Care Act is implemented in the coming years.
“Today’s announcement represents a huge victory. As we move forward with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a major concern has been that people with HIV/AIDS and the specialty providers who care for them could get lost in the process as people transfer from the Ryan White program to Medicaid and reimbursement rates change,” said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Ryan White has become the gold standard of care for people living with HIV. Today our community can rest easier knowing that the program’s culturally competent, high-quality care will be sustained as we transition into implementing the Affordable Care Act.”
The expansion directly aligns implementation of the Affordable Care Act with the objectives of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which seek to remove barriers to care and enhance the coordination of care services to improve the health of all people living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom face other chronic conditions. The enhanced reimbursements would be available through the newly created Medicaid “health homes,” which would help ensure that HIV expertise is infused in the broader primary-care environment.
“The leadership that President Obama is showing on this issue is transforming the battle against HIV and demonstrates the deep understanding the administration has of the complexity of fighting the epidemic and reaching some of our country’s most vulnerable populations,” said Ernest Hopkins, director of legislative affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “We know that when someone living with HIV is properly engaged in care, they will lead healthier, more productive lives, and are also far less likely to spread the virus to others. That’s why as we implement the Affordable Care Act, ensuring continuity of care for people with HIV/AIDS is paramount, and the administration today said they agree.”
“The true promise of health care reform will be felt state by state,” said Courtney Mulhern-Pearson, director of state and local affairs at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Today’s announcement underscores the critical need for states across the country to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to offer comprehensive services for all people living with HIV and other chronic conditions.”
As the Affordable Care Act is implemented, San Francisco AIDS Foundation stands ready to work with community partners and leaders at all levels of government to ensure there are no barriers to life-saving care.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
No city experienced epidemic levels of HIV faster than San Francisco. At San Francisco AIDS Foundation, we work to end the epidemic where it first took hold, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco. Through education, advocacy, and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease. We refuse to accept that HIV transmission is inevitable.