Two of Maine’s Largest HIV/AIDS Service Providers Announce Merger to Reduce Costs, Streamline Care
The AIDS Project, an education and support center, and the Peabody House hospice, two of Maine's largest HIV/AIDS service providers, announced on Thursday that they will merge to create the Frannie Peabody Center, the Portland Press Herald reports. The new agency, named for a deceased Maine AIDS "pionee[r]," will provide Portland-area residents with a range of services, including advocacy, case management, housing and hospice services. It is not yet known whether the groups will physically merge into a single office or maintain both of their current spaces in Portland, but administrators said that no jobs will be eliminated as a result of the merger. "This is the beginning of a journey that will provide better, more comprehensive services to our clients, with reduced administrative expenses," Shelley Broader, president of the AIDS Project's board of directors, said, adding that the merger "will offer a single point of entry" for services. "Financial pressures" necessitated the merger, the Press Herald reports. The two groups have a combined annual operating budget of about $2 million a year, and fundraising efforts have "fallen off" lately as a result of donations being diverted to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. In addition, as new treatments continue to extend the lives of people with HIV and AIDS-related deaths decline, many people erroneously believe that HIV/AIDS is no longer a threat. "Dollars from grants and large foundations are slowing down just as the infection rate of HIV continues to speed up," Broader stated. According to state health statistics, 1,200 Maine residents are infected with HIV (Shanahan, Portland Press Herald, 12/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.