New York State Budget Cuts Threaten Albany Medical Center’s HIV Drug Adherence Program
Although New York Gov. George Pataki (R) and the New York Legislature allocated "the largest sum in state history" -- $2.2 billion -- for HIV/AIDS programs in the current fiscal year budget, a $7.9 million cut has "jeopardized" HIV/AIDS programs that depend on funds from the state, the Albany Times Union reports. The affected programs include 175 organizations that offer education, housing, legal assistance and treatment support for people with AIDS, including Albany Medical Center Hospital's treatment-adherence program that helps HIV-positive individuals "stick to a complex cocktail" of medicines. The program has been "cited for its success," as it individually evaluates each patient to identify barriers to medication adherence before patients begin therapy (Swearingen, Albany Times Union, 11/28). The New York budget agreement includes $200 million for not-for-profit programs, with $100 million allocated to each house of the Legislature to distribute to the groups. However, many not-for-profit groups, including AIDS organizations, face "severe cutbacks," as they typically receive $300 million to $500 million per year (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/24). The reduction of funds comes at a time when HIV rates are increasing in New York and worldwide. An estimated 54,290 New Yorkers are HIV-positive. An Assembly spokesperson said that Assembly members are "looking into whether they can provide AIDS funding on top of the $107 million that the budget contains for the [state health department's] AIDS Institute." Andrew Rush, spokesperson for Pataki's budget division, said that he is "hopeful" that additional monies could be offered for the programs hurt by the budget cut (Albany Times Union, 11/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.