KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

DC ‘Squanders’ AIDS Money On Questionable Groups Despite Urgent Needs

A Washington Post investigation has found that the city with the highest AIDS rate in the United States, Washington, D.C., has awarded millions of dollars to often ineffective groups with little oversight. Officials failed to act when information about waste and abuse became available, and in the worst case one may have helped channel funding to relatives who operated an AIDS charity out of their nightclub. Meanwhile, AIDS patients waited years for treatment, faced needs legitimate agencies were unable to meet, and in one case, died alone on a park bench within a couple of miles of a dozen nonprofits meant to care for AIDS patients (Cenziper, 10/18).

In the second installment of the report the Washington Post follows the experience of one patient who was released from jail, temporarily sheltered by a nonprofit that promised job training and assistance with permanent housing, told to wait for a call back from the D.C. Health Department's HIV/AIDS administration, and finally, pushed back out on the street. The nonprofit group, Miracle Hands, "has been racked by complaints from city monitors, former clients and other AIDS groups about a lack of services and supplies, missing records and questionable expenses," but nevertheless has been one of the most highly funded organizations of its kind (Cenziper, 10/19).

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