D.C., Maryland Could Lose Ryan White Funding Under Names-Based HIV Reporting Requirement
The District of Columbia and Maryland could lose millions of dollars in Ryan White CARE Act funding if they do not implement names-based reporting of new HIV cases, the Washington Post reports. Currently, the district and Maryland encode patients' information when collecting HIV statistics (Brown, Washington Post, 3/13). CDC does not consider code-based HIV reporting to be accurate, and federal officials have said they will withhold funds from states that use code-based reporting rather than confidential names-based reporting (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/2). According to the Post, implementing a names-based reporting system by fiscal year 2007 could decide how $2.2 billion nationwide in funding would be distributed annually. Switching from code-based to names-based reporting could take approximately three years, the Post reports (Washington Post, 3/13). A subcommittee of the Maryland House Budget Committee on Monday approved a provision that would switch the state to names-based reporting only if Congress passes a bill tying CARE Act funding to the number of new HIV cases reported under a names-based system, the Baltimore Sun reports. The subcommittee's provision now goes to the full state House budget committee for consideration (Bor, Baltimore Sun, 3/14). The district's City Council currently is not considering a proposal to convert to the names-based reporting system.
Potential Losses, Reaction
The amount of funding Maryland and the district risk losing depends on the language adopted in the CARE Act reauthorization bill (SB 2339) pending in Congress, the Post reports (Washington Post, 3/13). Naomi Tomoyasu, acting director of the Maryland AIDS Administration, said the state could lose up to $26 million -- or about 55% -- of the annual federal funding it receives for HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment and other services. "We cannot afford to lose $26 million," Michelle Gourdine, deputy state health secretary for public health services, said, adding, "If the federal government passes the requirement, we will clearly do what is needed to be done" (Baltimore Sun, 3/14). Marsha Martin, director of the district's HIV/AIDS Administration, said, "The district follows the CDC guidelines, and consistent with that is currently exploring the transition to name-based reporting for HIV infection," adding that any new reporting method "must ensure full protection and absolute confidentiality" (Washington Post, 3/13).