Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Oregon Officials Halt New Enrollment in AIDS Drug Assistance Program
Oregon health officials have temporarily halted new enrollments in the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program due to funding problems, the Associated Press reports. Dr. Mel Kohn, a state epidemiologist, said that the state "deeply regret[s]" having to cease enrollment. However, higher drug prices and an 88% increase in applicants over the last two years have "overwhelmed" the $3.8 million program, he added. The program receives about 20 to 25 new applicants per month. The number of enrollees has also increased, rising from 558 in 1999 to 1,051 in 2001. "We know this will have a serious impact on people who need this help. ... We don't want to put someone on the program and then remove them until we clarify what we want to do for the rest of the year," Kohn said. The program, which serves about 1,100 of the state's 5,200 people with HIV, could begin taking new applicants as early as next month, after new policies, which may include lower drug benefits and stricter eligibility requirements, are in place, Kohn said. More than 90% of the program's budget is supplied by the federal government (Associated Press, 5/17).
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