Kansas City Task Force Unveils Recommendations For Improving AIDS Spending
The panel convened by Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes to study the city's AIDS spending presented its findings to city officials Thursday, the Kansas City Star reports (Samuels, Kansas City Star, 10/4). Barnes opened an investigation of the city's AIDS spending in June after federal officials sent her a "scathing" letter alleging that the Kansas City Health Department had failed to spend funding earmarked for AIDS drugs and minority health care. At issue was $3.3 million in federal Ryan White CARE Act money that the city health department is responsible for administering over an 11-county area bridging Missouri and Kansas (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/12). In July, Barnes appointed the 15-member Ryan White CARE Act Community Task Force to address the concerns. The task force recommended paring down the size of the Ryan White Planning Council, a local group that decides how Kansas City's share of the federal funding is spent. The Planning Council is composed of more than 50 AIDS patients, health care officials and others appointed by the mayor; the task force recommended "trimming" council membership to "increase efficiency" and also suggested term limits for planning council members. However, the panel added that HIV-positive individuals should still account for the majority of planning council members. Other task force recommendations included distributing newsletters in communities affected by HIV/AIDS to help inform individuals about the CARE Act and available services and the creation of an ombudsman to hear and mediate grievances. The task force also suggested assigning a permanent official in the mayor's office to oversee the program and improving communication among local, state and federal health officials about program developments (Kansas City Star, 10/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.