Virginia: HIV/AIDS Patients Scrambling to Cover Cost of Medications
December 22, 2010
As part of its cost-containment strategy, Virginia's AIDS Drug Assistance Program has announced plans to push 760 current clients with relatively stable immune systems out of ADAP and onto a waiting list.
About 400 new ADAP applicants a year who would have qualified for the program under earlier, less-stringent requirements also will be placed on the list. As of Dec. 16, Virginia's ADAP waiting list held 59 names, according to the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors.
State health officials believe all patients no longer ADAP-eligible can access treatment through Medicaid or assistance programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. State health workers are assisting patients to this end.
AIDS advocates, however, are not as optimistic about support from the private sector.
"I can imagine that, at some point, the patient assistance programs are going to get maxed out," said Stacie Walls-Beegle, executive director of Access AIDS Care in Norfolk. Advocates also worried about the logistics of the application process.
Federal government funds account for 90 percent of Virginia ADAP's $20 million annual budget, with the state providing the remainder. Funding has been flat in recent years, state health officials said. Between spring 2007 and spring 2010, the number of Virginia ADAP clients grew 21 percent. From April to October this year, it served an average 2,019 patients at cost of $1,283 per patient each month.
The state ADAP's new rules likely will remain in place until April 2012, said Maureen Dempsey, Virginia's chief deputy for public health. "If the ADAP funding stays flat and the demand stays as high as it is, we're going to have to continue our enrollment restrictions and assist people into other programs," she said.
12.19.2010; Amy Jeter
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