Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling Against New York City for Failing To Provide AIDS Care
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a 2000 ruling that New York City has been failing to meet its legal obligation to provide AIDS care and services to residents, the New York Times reports (Perez-Pena, New York Times, 6/9). The ruling affirms a lower-court ruling appealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (R) administration that found that clients of the city's Division of AIDS Services and Income Support must receive "meaningful access" to public benefits and services as dictated in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (Housing Works release, 6/9). In September 2000, federal District Judge Sterling Johnson ruled that DASIS routinely subjected the 27,000 people who use its services to chronically and systematically late benefits, sometimes terminating benefits without notice. Johnson in December 2001 ordered DASIS to improve its rendering of services -- including housing subsidies, Medicaid, emergency housing allotments and other benefits -- for people with HIV/AIDS. Both judgments stem from a 1995 class action lawsuit filed by the AIDS advocacy group Housing Works (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/20/2001). In the new ruling, the judges found that "[t]he mere fact that the plaintiffs, in the current apparently broken overall social services system, might not be doing worse than persons without disabilities does not render the dysfunctional DASIS 'reasonable'" (Housing Works release, 6/9). The city has been working to comply with the original ruling, and although the process is not yet complete, advocates say that services have improved, according to the AP/Long Island Newsday (AP/Long Island Newsday, 6/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.