Washington, D.C., Health Dept. Director Announces Plan to Assure City Pays Not-For-Profits Serving HIV/AIDS Patients on Time
May 27, 2005
District of Columbia Department of Health Director Gregg Pane on Wednesday announced a plan to prevent further problems that cause delays in reimbursements for organizations that serve the area's HIV-positive population, the Washington Times reports (McElhatton, Washington Times, 5/26). Washington, D.C., City Council member David Catania (I) had called for a proposed plan after the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which provides HIV/AIDS testing and related health services to mostly low-income area residents, announced that it is facing financial constraints that might force the group to consider program cutbacks. The clinic -- which serves about 7,000 HIV-positive individuals in the Washington, D.C., area and has a $29 million budget for 2005 -- earlier this month failed to meet its payroll for the first time since it opened in 1974. Whitman-Walker Interim Executive Director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti said that a series of budget and funding problems have contributed to the organization's financial problems, including more than $700,000 in late reimbursements owed to the clinic by the district health department and the housing agency of Prince George's County, Md. The district health department's failure to pay reimbursements on time also has led the Carl Vogel Center, which provides case-management and counseling services to about 700 HIV/AIDS patients in the city, to reduce staff and cut back services (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/23).
New Payment Process
Catania and other council members "reacted positively" to the plan, and Council member Vincent Gray (D) called the plan "an exciting framework," according to the Post. However, the not-for-profit groups waiting for reimbursement still are "waiting for proof" that the plan will work, according to the Post. "I think it's only fair to give (the administration) an opportunity" to succeed, Sharon Bakerville, executive director of the D.C. Primary Care Association, said, adding, "It's amazing to me how quickly a solution can be found" after the council gives an ultimatum (Washington Post, 5/26).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.