Federal Government Approves EVMS, Norfolk, Va., Contract Regarding Administration of Ryan White Funds
The federal government on Friday approved a contract between the city of Norfolk, Va., and the Eastern Virginia Medical School regarding the administration of Ryan White CARE Act funds, and officials hope that the new agreement will allow the school to reopen its regional HIV/AIDS clinics, the Virginian-Pilot reports (Minium, Virginian-Pilot, 7/1). EVMS and Norfolk officials early last month announced that they had reached a tentative agreement to reopen six of the seven clinics in the region that serve approximately 400 patients. A contract dispute between the parties regarding billing practices resulted in the revocation of the clinics' Ryan White funds on April 11. EVMS clinics were using a billing method in which doctors received a set fee for each patient, a practice that is reportedly not allowed under federal government regulations. As a result, the clinics lost their Ryan White money and had to cease operations (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). City Manager Regina Williams on Friday signed the contract and EVMS spokesperson Doug Gardner said that EVMS officials were expected to review and sign the contract yesterday. Federal officials took three weeks longer than originally stated to approve the contract (Virginian-Pilot, 7/1).
Clinics To Reopen 'Soon'
Over the past four years, Norfolk has failed to spend an average of $1 million per year from Title I Ryan White funds, and an estimated 900 local residents living with HIV are not receiving care. Only two metropolitan areas out of the 51 that received funds under Title I spent a smaller percentage of their funding in the fiscal year that ended Feb. 28, 2002, than Norfolk. AIDS advocates have accused the city of making the administration of Ryan White funding more complicated than it needs to be (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). Tommy Bennett, a member of the Ryan White planning council that advises the city on AIDS treatment priorities, said, "There has been no shortage of funds, which makes you wonder why they would jeopardize lives [by closing the clinics]." He added that "the good news is that the clinics will reopen soon, and people will begin receiving care that could prolong their lives." Gardner said that he was not sure when the clinics would reopen but added that he hoped it would be soon (Virginian-Pilot, 7/1).