New Mexico Gov. Richardson Announces $250,000 in Stopgap Funds for State HIV/AIDS Program
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) on Friday announced that his office will give $250,000 in federal, fiscal-relief funds to the state's HIV/AIDS program to help curb cuts to direct services, the AP/Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The state's program is facing an estimated $1.6 million deficit for the current budget year and a $2.8 million shortfall for the next budget year, according to the AP/New Mexican. Richardson said that the funds will serve as a stopgap for the state's Department of Health to secure other funding to maintain the program's services, the AP/New Mexican reports. State Health Secretary Patricia Montoya said she has been considering closing enrollment for the state AIDS Drug Assistance Program and eliminating some direct services such as case management, according to the AP/New Mexican. She said that the department would postpone cutting direct services "as long as we can," adding, "I do not want to consider those recommendations until I am confident that every possible measure has been considered." Montoya also said that the department plans to save about $90,000 by taking over the administration of the Insurance Assistance Program and cutting fees currently paid to University of New Mexico Hospitals. In addition, the department plans to save more than $1.14 million by eliminating funding for HIV centers that provide support services such as food, housing and home health care and cutting payments to two Albuquerque clinics that provide services to women and children because the services could be covered by federal grants (Baker, AP/Santa Fe New Mexican, 6/5). Richardson said that the funding is needed "now ... to avoid cutting off access to this important program," adding, "For the long-term, the health department will continue to explore all options to sustain services for these clients" (Richardson release, 6/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.