October 5, 2006
HIV/AIDS caregivers in Palm Beach County -- who were earlier this year hit by a 13 percent reduction in Ryan White CARE Act funds -- have now learned more than $560,000 that was unspent in the previous year's allotment will be returned to the county.
The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) distributes the money. Its spokesperson, David Bowman, said it is not unusual for some of the Ryan White money to remain unspent at year's end. "Many, many grantees are in this situation yearly. It's hard to draw down to exactly the amount projected," he said. He acknowledged, however, that while applicants can request the excess money, they do not usually receive it in time to spend it.
County commissioners on Tuesday approved a plan to use the money for HIV-related social service and medical care needs, said Barbara Jacobowitz, executive director of the Treasure Coast Health Council. "We're very glad to get it," she said, though she added, "We would have preferred to get it several months ago." The original cut reduced the county's allocation of Ryan White funds by more than $1.2 million.
Bowman denied that the money's early return was the result of a spring meeting between HRSA officials and the county's congressional delegation. "We care about all our grantees but don't give any special treatment," he said.