Eastern Virginia Medical School Reopens Clinics Serving Uninsured AIDS PatientsEastern Virginia Medical School on Tuesday after a three-month hiatus reopened two clinics -- one on the EVMS campus and one on Colley Avenue in Norfolk, Va. -- aimed at serving uninsured AIDS patients in the city, the Virginian-Pilot reports (Szabo, Virginian-Pilot, 7/2). 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. However, the federal government on June 27 approved a contract between the city of Norfolk and EVMS regarding the administration of Ryan White funds (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/2).
More Clinic Openings Planned
Dr. Edward Oldfield, creator of EVMS' clinic system, said that reopening the clinics is "a huge relief," but he added that rebuilding the clinic network likely will be "extraordinarily hard." The clinic at the Virginia Beach Health Department is scheduled to open today and the Portsmouth Health Department clinic is scheduled to open on July 14, according to EVMS officials. A fifth clinic, based at the Chesapeake Health Department, had enough funds to remain open during the three-week period. In addition, Oldfield said that he hopes to reopen a clinic in Williamsburg in August and one in Hampton in September, according to the Virginian-Pilot. Oldfield also said that Norfolk has fixed several problems with the EVMS clinic system, including allowing doctors seeing AIDS patients to treat them for other STDs and allowing medical case managers to assist patients with "non-health care needs," including transportation. According to the Virginian-Pilot, some patients who had used clinic services have experienced "hassles" and long waits at other clinics during the three-week period and said that they were happy to hear that the clinics were reopening (Virginian-Pilot, 7/2).