Georgia: Carrollton HIV Clinic Shut Down; Funding, Confidentiality Concerns Cited
April 25, 2006
On March 28, the Georgia Division of Public Health ceased its operations at the Michael Smith Center in Carrollton, leaving around 75 HIV-positive clients to find new primary care providers.
The Smith Center is owned by the HIV/AIDS nonprofit agency Positive Response, which rented clinic space one day each week to the state's Public Health District 4. A press release issued by the district the day the clinic closed said, "Due to funding reductions it is no longer in the best interest of the clients of District 4 to continue operating the Michael Smith Center. All clients have been notified of the closing and services are continuing at different locations."
Hayla Hall, public information officer for District 4, said Smith Center clients can receive care at Haven of Hope in LaGrange (about 46 miles away) or at Caring Corner in Griffin (about 60 miles away). Transportation to those clinics will be provided to clients who need it, said Hall.
However, a prepared statement from Program Manager Carl Knapp on behalf of Dr. Michael Brackett, District 4's public health director, gave a different account of why the center closed. "The major concerns in any health care facility are client confidentiality and the quality of care provided. After a year of voicing our concerns with no significant improvements, the District Executive Management Team, in consensus with the clinical professionals, decided it was no longer in our best interest or in the interest of our clients to continue providing services at the Michael Smith Center," said Knapp.
"The space for the clinic was not acceptable, and client confidentiality required for the privacy of clinical services was not being observed," Knapp wrote.
Michael Murphy, a center client who serves on the Positive Response executive board as secretary, disputed those claims, adding that the nonprofit has invited numerous state lawmakers to tour the facility.
Southern Voice (Atlanta)
04.21.06; Zack Hudson
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.