Wyoming ADAP, HIV/AIDS Care Program Depletes Funds; New Grant Does Not Begin Until April 2003
Two Wyoming programs that help individuals with HIV/AIDS pay for medications and other health care costs have announced that they expect to run out of funds within the next 45 days, the Associated Press reports. The state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the HIV/AIDS Care Program, both of which are funded by the same $340,000 annual HHS grant, have "nearly depleted" the grant, which is scheduled to run through March 2003. Kurt Galbraith, care coordinator for the Wyoming Department of Health, said that the increasing costs of medications are partly to blame for the lack of money, adding that 73% of the grant money this year was spent on medications. People with HIV or AIDS qualify for the funding if their income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level, or $26,580 for one person. According to Galbraith, 77 people currently rely on the Ryan White CARE Act funds to help pay for medications and health costs. Tonya Cain of the Wyoming AIDS Project said that the funding shortfall would likely affect her clients, many of whom are uninsured and have few resources. She added that programs such as hers would have to find alternative sources of funding for the health care needs of Wyoming's individuals with HIV and AIDS.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Mary Speraw, an AIDS activist who is also HIV-positive, blamed the funding shortfall on the fact that the government grant has not been increased year-to-year to match the rising cost of drugs. She added that she has already cancelled doctors' appointments because she would be unable to pay without the federal assistance. Galbraith said he is currently working with state nursing care managers to try to put current funding beneficiaries on drug companies' patient assistance programs and to arrange for health care services for those patients. He added that the state would likely receive the same level of funding next year but would avoid such a shortfall by limiting eligibility to those at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, limiting drugs paid for by the funding and enacting a 90-day waiting period for new enrollees (Associated Press, 11/20).