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Local and Community News

Virginia: Clinics Serving AIDS Patients With No Insurance Reopen Doors

July 2, 2003

Eastern Virginia Medical School, which signed a contract Tuesday with the city of Norfolk to care for uninsured AIDS patients in Hampton Roads, has begun reopening clinics that had been closed for nearly three months. Seven of eight EVMS clinics serving indigent HIV patients shut down in April because of a dispute over Ryan White CARE Act funds, which Norfolk oversees for the region. The move sent nearly 400 HIV-positive patients scrambling to find new doctors.

On Tuesday afternoon, EVMS reopened two clinics -- one on campus and another on Colley Avenue -- said Dr. Edward C. Oldfield III, who created the medical school's clinic system. A clinic at the Virginia Beach Health Department should reopen Monday, and one at the Portsmouth Health Department should open around July 14, according to EVMS officials. A fifth clinic at the Chesapeake Health Department, which had remained open but only offered AIDS patients primary care, has resumed providing specialty care.

Now, however, rebuilding the clinic network, which provided "one-stop shopping" for patients to get all their care in one location, will be "extraordinarily hard," Oldfield said. One clinic lost a nurse, and some physicians had begun redirecting their practices.

Medical school and city officials reached a tentative agreement about a month ago. Officials at the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency that manages Ryan White dollars, approved the contract Friday. Norfolk's Ryan White program has failed to spend an average of $1 million in federal funds annually, while city officials estimate as many as 900 HIV patients in Hampton Roads are getting no medical care.

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Oldfield said the city corrected several problems with the system:

  • Doctors seeing AIDS patients are no longer prohibited from treating them for other STDs.

  • Medical case managers are now allowed to help patients with non-health care needs.

  • Social workers may now work out of medical offices like the one at EVMS.

  • New prescription rules allow exceptions for patients allergic to certain drugs.

Back to other CDC news for July 2, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Virginian-Pilot
07.02.03; 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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