New Mexico: HIV Services Could Take Bigger Hit
June 30, 2004
Early this month, the New Mexico Health Department's Public Health Division recommended the state close enrollment in its HIV/AIDS programs for new HIV-positive clients who cannot afford drugs or health insurance. State health officials expect to decide by September whether to block new enrollments to deal with a projected budget shortfall for HIV/AIDS services. People diagnosed with HIV, even if they met income guidelines, would go on a waiting list.Adapted from:
The division has projected a $1.6 million shortfall in HIV funding this year and a $2.8 million deficit next fiscal year, according to a recent report to the Legislative Finance Committee. Sixty-three percent of the division's HIV budget comes from federal funding, according to Joyce Naseyowma-Chalan, the division's director, and funding has been flat while the number of patients continues to increase.
At the start of the new fiscal year Thursday, New Mexico will reduce funding by one- to two-thirds to groups providing HIV/AIDS services statewide. Treatment and services funds are decreasing from about $11 million to $10 million, and money in the budget is being shifted from social services to drugs and medical treatment.
According to Don Torres, New Mexico's AIDS director, the state has 587 HIV/AIDS patients receiving 78 drugs through the Health Department. If enrollment were frozen, Health Secretary Patricia Montoya estimated 60 people would join a waiting list within a year.
The Health Department is considering reducing income eligibility from the current 300 percent of poverty level to 200 percent. A single person making $27,930 a year is now eligible for help. But if eligibility were reduced, the same person could make no more than $18,620 to qualify. This change would cut 186 of the 1,000 clients currently enrolled in various statewide HIV/AIDS programs, department spokesperson Beth Velasquez said.
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.