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U.S. News

North Carolina: AIDS Group to Expand

May 5, 2009

Concerns over federal grant management have been resolved, allowing the Metrolina AIDS Project (MAP) to resume services and eventually expand its programs.

MAP's problems arose last year when federal funds designated to open a medical clinic for HIV patients were spent instead on administration without the board's knowledge, said Kathy Willits, board chairperson and a family nurse practitioner in Charlotte. "It was incompetence by the executive director," she said. "There was no fraudulent activity." Ann White, who had been MAP's executive director since 2005, was dismissed by the board in January, said Willits. The widely circulated story that the AIDS service organization was closing "was just a vicious rumor," Willits said. White was not available for comment.

Earlier this year, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration put $1.2 million in Ryan White grants "on hold" until the problems were worked out. MAP's board brought in Dr. Jose Diaz, a New York-based HRSA consultant, to provide technical assistance. In February, Diaz was hired as interim executive director; he recently agreed to stay for one year.

Beatrice Black was hired as MAP's new vice president for grants and finance. "I've spent a lot of time restoring the agency's respect with the federal government," she said.

Cash flow was a problem in April, with employees paid late for two pay periods, said Black. Federal funds should begin flowing in the next 30 days, she said, after MAP completes required paperwork. "We won't have financial problems after that," she added.

Willits said the agency plans to add mental health and substance abuse services at MAP's medical clinic, in addition to primary care and HIV treatment. "I think we're going to come out of this much stronger and better than we were when we went into it," she said.

Back to other news for May 2009

Adapted from:
Charlotte Observer
05.02.2009; Karen Garloch

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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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