ADAP Rule Changes in Illinois Make Access Easier
February 21, 2012
Thanks to a series of rule changes approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health, fewer people with HIV will run the risk of losing their access to medicines because of cumbersome application and paperwork requirements. This news comes as a victory for the advocates from AIDS Legal Council of Chicago (ALCC) and AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), who worked hard to get the rules changed. It is especially good news to the many who had reported difficulties navigating the online application process and having to repeatedly submit documentation to qualify for help.
Ann Hilton Fisher, Executive Director of ALCC, explains, "At ALCC, we kept hearing from ADAP clients who were trying to complete the reapplication process and were having problems, either because they didn't understand some of the questions, or because they couldn't get all the attachments in on time, or just because they were worried that they'd done something wrong and wouldn't be able to get their next month's medications. It was very inefficient, and it was jeopardizing people's access to medicines."
John Peller, Vice-President of Policy at AFC, agrees that the rules requiring a new application every six months were creating havoc with case managers and clients. "ADAP recipients were having to submit the same documents and information over and over again. While it's critical to ensure that only eligible individuals are getting on ADAP, it's possible to do this without drowning people in paperwork."
Among the new rules to be adopted, ADAP will no longer require existing recipients to fill out an entirely new application every six months, opting for a much less burdensome process of "re-certification" instead. "The program will ask if you're currently receiving prescriptions through ADAP," explains Fisher, "and if the answer is yes, a lot of follow-up questions won't get asked. Furthermore, if ADAP already has the proof it needs in your file, you won't have to submit that again."
Another benefit is that ADAP staff will begin following up with individuals whose applications are incomplete, asking them if they want to name someone else, like a case manager or family member, who can help them with their application. Third, the program will make accommodations to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to ADAP and other HIV programs. "We have clients," says Fisher, "who have serious mental health problems and would find it virtually impossible to navigate the process if ADAP didn't make any allowances for their special needs. These changes help to ensure that even the most vulnerable can get access to life-saving medications."
This article was provided by Test Positive Aware Network. It is a part of the publication Positively Aware. Visit TPAN's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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