AIDS Agency to Operate South Dallas Clinic
The South Dallas Health Clinic, a "troubled" clinic providing between 200 and 400 HIV-positive patients with low-cost medical care, social services and counseling, will be taken over next week by the not-for-profit organization AIDS Arms Inc., the Dallas Morning News reports. AIDS Arms, a service and medication management provider for 1,200 people with HIV, was awarded a $1.1 million federal grant in December to operate the clinic and hopes to "sever the health center from its troubled past," which includes charges of fraud and an FBI investigation that led to the conviction of the clinic's founder. The clinic had been awarded grants through the Ryan White CARE Act, but funding was discontinued after a 1997 audit revealed fiancial wrongdoing, such as $60,000 of the funding going toward phone charges to a psychic hotline and shopping trips. AIDS Arms will change the clinic name to the Peabody Health Center, and hire the clinic's first full-time medical director, Dr. Keith Rawlings. Rawlings, who currently runs a community health clinic for Parkland Health and Hospital System, where he sees about 350 AIDS patients, has treated patients with the disease since 1984. He said, "There's never been any question about the quality of medical care provided by the clinic. The whole purpose of the program is to bring health care into the community in order to reach a population that has been significantly impacted by AIDS." According to a recent CDC report, 32% of gay black men in Dallas between the ages of 23 and 29 are infected with HIV, a rate believed to be the nation's highest. Most of the South Dallas Health Clinic's patients are black, as is Rawlings, AIDS Arms Executive Director Rodney Holcomb noted, adding that Rawlings will be a "strong ally for the patients who need him" (Jacobson, Dallas Morning News, 2/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.