California HIV Patients Gain Access to Credentialed Specialists
Governor Davis Proposes New Regulation to Existing Law for Benefit of HIV Patients
Los Angeles -- Californians living with HIV scored a major victory today as Governor Gray Davis proposed a new regulation to establish the definition of HIV medical specialists under the Standing Referral law (AB 2168).
AdvertisementWhen written, AB 2168 required managed care companies to provide HIV patients with access to HIV medical specialists -- similar to cancer patients access to oncologists -- but did not establish a clear definition of what constitutes a HIV specialist. The new regulation containing this definition goes into effect July 1, 2002.
"Though it was well intentioned, AB 2168 hit a brick wall because insurers had no standardized way of identifying HIV specialists," said Dr. R. Scott Hitt, MD, president of the nonprofit American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM), an independent group that administers the national credentialing program. "Today Governor Davis broke through that wall, opening the door to fair medical treatment for all Californians living with HIV."
The Governors proposal will recognize HIV specialists who meet specific criteria or are credentialed by the AAHIVM, the only organization in the country to provide HIV specialist credentialing. There is no fee for participating in the AAHIVMs annual credentialing process, and providers do not have to be members of the organization to participate. Criteria for the AAHIVMs credentialing program were developed over 12 months by 50 of the nations leading HIV/AIDS clinicians, experts and educators.
"Changes in treatment for HIV/AIDS occur more rapidly than any other disease," said Dr. Hitt. "Yearly credential testing is necessary to help HIV medical specialists stay up-to-date with the latest in advancements for the benefit of their patients."
To become a credentialed HIV specialist through the AAHIVM, a provider will need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Maintain current and valid MD, DO, PA or NP state licensure
- Clinically manage at least 20 HIV patients in the past two years
- Demonstrate continuous professional development in one of three ways
- Successfully complete the Infectious Diseases Board certification or maintenance of certification/re-certification for the current year (MDs and DOs); or
- Complete annually at least 30 hours of HIV-related CME Category 1 credits (continuing education for NPs); or
- Complete annually at least 15 hours of HIV-related CME Category 1 credits (continuing education for NPs) and pass the HIV Medicine Credentialing Exam, scored by the AAHIVM and weighted to emphasize the most recent educational objectives.
The American Academy of HIV Medicine is an independent organization of HIV Specialists dedicated to promoting excellence in HIV/AIDS care. Through advocacy and education the Academy is committed to supporting specialists in HIV medicine and ensuring better care for those living with HIV/AIDS.
As of January 2002, the 1,300 members of AAHIVM directly care for over 275,000 HIV patients, representing more than half of patients in active treatment for HIV disease in the US today.
Health care providers interested in applying for credentialing can call the AAHIVM toll free at 1-866-241-9601, or visit their Web site at www.aahivm.org.