Alabama Governor Signs Bill Appropriating $1M for State ADAP, Allowing 200 Patients To Remain in Program
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) on Thursday signed into law a $1 million emergency appropriation for the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program that will prevent the Alabama Department of Public Health from having to remove 200 HIV-positive people from the program, the Birmingham News reports (Chandler, Birmingham News, 4/15). ADAPs are federal- and state-funded programs that provide HIV/AIDS-related medications to low-income, uninsured and underinsured HIV-positive individuals. Officials from Alabama's ADAP last month sent letters to the doctors of the 200 patients who most recently joined the program, saying that the patients would be removed from the program if the state did not approve emergency funding by April 15 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15). The state House on Thursday voted 92-0 to approve the appropriation, according to the News (Birmingham News, 4/15). The state House approved the original version of the measure on March 8, and the state Senate on Wednesday approved 29-0 an amended version of the measure (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15).
"I am delighted," State Health Officer Don Williamson said, adding, "For this year, that will solve a major problem." Although Kathie Hiers, CEO of the advocacy group AIDS Alabama, said she is "thrilled" about the emergency funding approval, she added that the Legislature "need[s] to understand we still have a frozen program. The waiting list is growing every day" (Birmingham News, 4/15). As of Wednesday, Alabama -- which froze enrollment in its ADAP in 2004 because of funding constraints -- had 571 people on its ADAP waiting list (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15).
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Friday included an interview with Williamson about the state's ADAP program (Norris, "All Things Considered," NPR, 4/15). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.