Public Advocate Blames New York City Health Department for Drop in AIDS Funding
Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum on Monday called the New York City Health Department's failure to submit AIDS funding applications on time "reprehensible" and blamed the agency for a $14 million cut in federal AIDS funds, the Long Island Newsday reports (Ramirez, Long Island Newsday, 4/2). HHS awarded New York City 12% less than last year in federal Ryan White CARE Act funds this year, the largest reduction nationwide. Although the allocation of funds based on the number of AIDS cases in New York City increased, the allocation of supplemental funds based on severity of need decreased from $48 million last year to $32 million this year (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/31). The department's "failure to demonstrate severe need for a city with the highest number of AIDS cases in the country and maintain supplemental funding is reprehensible," Gotbaum said, adding, "The city's failure to simply submit required paperwork on time does not only cost money, it costs lives." City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden denied that the city's application was at fault for the cuts. The HIV Planning Council, the citywide panel that decides how to distribute Ryan White funds, will meet today to discuss how to deal with the cuts. "The city must do whatever it takes to find some money and avoid cuts for services to people with AIDS," Terri Smith-Carona, a member of the council's finance committee, said. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) on Sunday said that the city will fight to restore the funds. "We have a commitment to cut the number of AIDS infections by 50% by 2005. I want to meet that commitment. We have plenty of people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS and we've got to make sure that we take care of them," he said (Long Island Newsday, 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.