September 7, 2012
Rochester-based AIDS Care is working out the logistics of adding a primary care clinic to serve the wider LGBT community.
"We're seriously looking at opening up an LGBT-friendly practice," said Jay Rudman, AIDS Care's president and CEO. "We're hoping that if it's feasible, it's something we can do early next year."
Details to be addressed include securing $2 million in start-up funding, arranging for reimbursements and determining the resources necessary for a range of LGBT medical and social service needs. "We don't want to do this halfway or be unsuccessful," Rudman said.
The clinic has been part of AIDS Care's strategic plan for a few years, said Dr. William Valenti, senior vice president for organizational advancement. "My style is to just charge ahead," he said. "We'll raise dust and we'll figure it out as we go along."
AIDS Care, which was formed by the 2010 merger of AIDS Rochester and AIDS Community Health Center, will continue its HIV/AIDS services. In addition to specialized care, the clinic would address what the federal government has identified as disparities in access to and quality of health care for minorities.
"So many of our community members are afraid to come out to their doctor," said Scott Fearing, program director at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. An understanding of cultural differences in health care is vital, said Fearing, who leads workshops on the subject for professionals across the country.
In an online AIDS Care survey earlier this year, 93 percent of respondents said it is important to have a doctor who is open and supportive; however, 25 percent said they were not out to their doctor.