Eastern Virginia Medical School Clinics Serving Uninsured AIDS Patients ‘Never Should Have Been Closed,’ Editorial Says
Eastern Virginia Medical School clinics aimed at serving uninsured AIDS patients in the city "delivered ... care and treatment in a way that other cities envied and tried to copy" and "never should have been closed," according to a Virginian-Pilot editorial (Virginian-Pilot, 7/9). A contract dispute between EVMS and the city of Norfolk regarding billing practices resulted in the revocation of Ryan White funds for seven area clinics 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. Last week, EVMS after a three-month hiatus reopened two clinics and had plans to open the others in the near future (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/7). According to the editorial, Norfolk administrators were trying "to fix something that wasn't broken," as there was "no financial reason" for the temporary clinics' closure, which "pu[t] lives and health at risk." Uninsured patients should "rejoice" that EVMS is "coming back to treat them," the editorial says. The editorial concludes, "First-rate public health care is rare in Virginia, so it was doubly sad to see the AIDS clinics closed. The region, and especially uninsured AIDS patients, can only hope that Norfolk will leave well enough alone" (Virginian-Pilot, 7/9).
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