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Arkansas Legislators Hold Up Contract: Questions Arise on Bid by Provider of AIDS Services

February 11, 2010

Clinical services for some 1,300 AIDS patients throughout Arkansas may be disrupted as legislators debate the propriety of how federal funding for their care is being handled.

If the arrangement in question, a $1.5 million contract with White River Rural Health in McCrory, is not in place by April 1, the clinic risks losing both reimbursements and patients, said Kevin Dedner, the AIDS section chief for the state Department of Health.

White River is an existing provider and would under the new contract replace four other contractors. The change in contractors was needed to meet federal guidelines that require a "one-stop shop" and other components, said Dedner.

During a meeting of the Review Subcommittee of the Legislative Council, Sen. Percy Malone (D-Arkadelphia) said he was worried about creating a "monopoly." Rep. Joan Cash (D-Jonesboro) wondered whether White River had personal connections within the Department of Health. Sen. John Paul Capps (D-Searcy) suggested the subcommittee approve the contract.

The lawmakers voted to hold up the contract, deferring consideration of it until March.

Back to other news for February 2010

Excerpted from:
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)
02.04.2010; Seth Blomeley

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