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The Nation's HIV Medical Providers Oppose Michigan Bill Encouraging Discrimination in the Clinical Setting

April 30, 2004

Los Angeles, CA -- Today, the nation's HIV medical providers called on the state Senate of Michigan as well as the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, to reject a package of four House bills that could potentially hurt gay and lesbian patients in that state.

The bills allow a medical provider or health facility to refuse to provide or participate in a health care service and allow health insurers to refuse to offer or provide a health care benefit. Further, the House bills fail to require health care providers to give referrals to providers who offer services they refuse. Many fear that if passed, Michigan might have discrimination codified in their health care system.

"These bills could potentially be used to deny health care to gays and lesbians, as well as to others that providers and insurers deem objectionable. The American Academy of HIV Medicine vehemently opposes any bill that would encourage discrimination in the clinical setting," says AAHIVM CEO R. Scott Hitt, M.D. "We have a tough enough time getting certain populations into care and treatment. Beyond being counter-productive, these bills are simply unethical."

AAHIVM Board Chair, Judith Feinberg, M.D., AAHIVM HIV SpecialistTM added that, "the bill directly contradicts the AMA's Code of Ethics, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We hope Michigan rejects any bill that might discourage anyone from seeking care or worse prohibit anyone from receiving care."

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About the Academy

The American Academy of HIV Medicine is an independent organization of HIV Specialists and others dedicated to promoting excellence in HIV/AIDS care. Through advocacy and education, the Academy is committed to supporting health care providers in HIV medicine and to ensuring better care for those living with AIDS and HIV disease.

Our 1,600 members provide direct care to more than 275,000 HIV patients, more than half of the patients in active treatment for HIV disease. The Academy has a diverse membership, primarily composed of Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Family Practitioner and General Practitioner specialists. In addition, 10 percent of the Academy's primary voting members are frontline Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. More than 40 percent of the Academy's members receive Ryan White CARE Act funding, with 17 percent of the Academy's members practicing in community clinics. The Academy can be accessed on the Web at www.aahivm.org.



  
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This article was provided by American Academy of HIV Medicine.
 
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