California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute for HIV Treatment and Research to Close Next Month
The Institute for HIV Treatment and Research at California Pacific Medical Center's Davies campus will close next month, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Wu, San Francisco Examiner, 4/2). The institute, which was founded in 1988 by Dr. Stephen Follansbee and nurse Brian Christiansen, conducts HIV/AIDS research and provides supplemental health care for more than 1,000 HIV-positive patients, many of whom could be left without a health care provider by the closure, which the Examiner reports may be due to changes in insurance practices (Wu, San Francisco Examiner, 4/1). But David Drennan, director of the institute, sees the closure as a "happy occurrence," adding, "HIV infection has evolved into a medically manageable, chronic and largely outpatient condition." Follansbee said he was "saddened" by the closure but noted that the institute was founded to allow people with HIV/AIDS to try new therapies through clinical trials. At the time the institute was founded, there was little clinical research available on the disease, but now many hospitals conduct trials, he said, adding, "If the need has moved on to other areas, then it needs to respond to that need." Dr. Dawn McGuire, head of the institute's NeuroAIDS clinic, said she does not know how the closure will affect the 100 patients she sees regularly, many of whom were referred from other area hospitals. "The bottom line is, Davies was meant to be the community hospital for the surrounding areas. California Pacific's mission was to support and maintain HIV services at Davies. There should be a dialogue about what the community needs from this important facility," she said, adding that the timing of the closure was particularly bad because "if anything, the number of neurological complications arising from HIV are more prevalent" (San Francisco Examiner, 4/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.