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Policy & Politics

Florida Activists: AIDS Money Exists but Not Used

September 8, 2011

Orange County officials are leaving too much federal money for medical and transportation services on the table each year, amounting to $1.8 million in unspent funds during the past five years, local AIDS activists charge.

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At a County Commission meeting on Aug. 30, advocate Thim Love noted that around $500,000 was potentially lost last year. "It's not fair, and there's nothing being done about it," Andre Johnson of Orlando said.

Orange County manages Ryan White funds for a region that includes Lake, Seminole and Osceola counties. Together the four, with assistance from a citizen advisory board, arrange for qualified businesses to provide services such as medical and dental care, counseling, and transportation. Records show that during the past five years, initial Ryan White awards to the region have ranged from $7 million to $9 million.

Orange County officials acknowledged that complex reviews of the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS service providers do result in funds left unspent at the end of a fiscal year. That money is then carried over into the next year's local budget, they said. They concurred, however, that the federal government could potentially hold back some future funding based on leftover money from previous grants.

"There are certainly some things we are concerned about," said Lonnie Bell, director of Orange County's Family Services Department. "We need to improve."

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs directed the county's internal ombudsman to look into the matter. "I share the same concerns you have," she said.

Back to other news for September 2011

Adapted from:
Orlando Sentinel
08.31.2011; David Damron


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
More HIV Treatment Policy News on Florida

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