Nebraska HIV Clinic Director Requests Funds for State’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program
Dr. Susan Swindells, director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's HIV Clinic, is requesting increased public funding from federal and state officials for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, the Associated Press reports. Nebraska's ADAP currently receives $1.1 million annually, 90% of which comes from federal sources, and is operating on a deficit of $17,000 each month. The shortfall has been created by rising drug costs, increased life expectancy for HIV-positive people who receive treatment and a steady number of new cases. According to Swindells, the program has a waiting list of 15 low-income people, many of whom were recently diagnosed with HIV and are not receiving medication. "It ultimately is going to cost money. When they get sick, somebody is going to have to fix them," Swindells said (Associated Press, 1/24).
New York ADAP Profile
In related news, the February 2003 issue of City Limits MONTHLY profiles New York state's ADAP, calling it "arguably ... the most progressive program in the country." New York's ADAP provides hundreds of drugs, nutritional supplements and "extensive" primary health care to approximately 17,000 state residents. However, the state Department of Health recently projected a $50 million shortfall in the program's budget for the next fiscal year if funding is not increased, which is a "wake-up call" for New York to a crisis most states have experienced in recent years, City Limits reports. In November, New York health officials began publicizing a contingency plan involving restricting coverage of medications and nutritional supplements and limiting annual client visits to physicians, according to City Limits. State health officials are beginning to cut costs by directing ADAP clients to enroll in Medicaid and other health insurance programs. New York is "one of a handful" of states that allow HIV-positive individuals to receive Medicaid benefits as long as their medication expenditures bring their income below the poverty level. According to the AIDS Treatment Data Network, 13 state ADAPs currently have waiting lists and the group expects another six -- including New York -- to begin waiting lists or create "stricter" eligibility requirements this year (Grossman, City Limits MONTHLY, February 2003).