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Local and Community News

Virginia: Chesapeake to Stop Providing AIDS Treatment

May 13, 2003

The Chesapeake, Va., Health Department will stop providing AIDS care at the end of the month, officials said last week. Patients are being notified of the change by mail. Chesapeake has been treating AIDS patients in collaboration with infectious disease experts at Eastern Virginia Medical School, which received federal Ryan White funding for four years to treat indigents. The funding was cut April 11, however, over a billing dispute with the Norfolk-based regional administrators of the funds. Chesapeake had enough money to keep its clinic running a few weeks longer.

Norfolk officials offered Chesapeake funding to continue seeing AIDS patients this year, said Shirley Tyree, regional program director for Ryan White. Chesapeake turned down the money. Dr. Nancy Welch, director of Chesapeake's Health Department, said her staff cannot continue treating people with HIV long-term without the medical school's expertise. Chesapeake treats about 70 HIV patients. Without the medical school's help, Welch said, her department will be unable to see any AIDS patients, not simply those whose care is paid for by the Ryan White program.

EVMS already has stopped treating Ryan White clients at its main campus and satellite offices elsewhere in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg. Norfolk officials say that EVMS' prices have been too high. They cut funds to EVMS clinics on the Peninsula because relatively few patients used them. EVMS doctors have said that Norfolk leaders have not been responsive to their concerns about customer service and other issues affecting patient care. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim asked EVMS President Dr. J. Sumner Bell to meet with city officials May 9 to try to resolve the issue.

AIDS patients in South Hampton Roads are being directed to Norfolk physician Dr. Angela Mercer and the Norfolk Health Department, which both receive Ryan White funds. However, NHD's HIV program is "at capacity" and can take new clients only as others leave, said Health Director Dr. Valerie Stallings. Many patients said they do not know what to do.

Back to other CDC news for May 13, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Virginian-Pilot
05.09.03; Liz Szabo


  
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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.
 
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