New York Counties Granted Waiver to Ryan White Program Provision
The federal government on Wednesday granted Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York state a waiver to a provision of the Ryan White Program requiring that 75% of funding be used for core medical services and 25% for support services, the Long Island Newsday reports (Bonilla, Long Island Newsday, 3/14). Both counties in February filed the lawsuit against HHS to procure the waiver. The counties typically use half of Ryan White funds on medical services because many HIV-positive people in the counties have health insurance. The remaining 50% in funds is used for support services, such as transportation to physician appointments, food vouchers and housing assistance. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent funding cuts for HIV/AIDS programs under the recently passed Ryan White Care Act Reauthorization Bill (HR 6143). Under the reauthorization bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, Nassau and Suffolk counties and 33 other communities nationwide are placed into one category that will share $145 million in funding, down from $458 million under previous Ryan White allocations, because they are no longer considered eligible metropolitan areas. The suit seeks to restore Nassau and Suffolk counties' eligible metropolitan status. Under previous Ryan White allocations, the counties received $6.1 million annually in funding for services for people living with HIV/AIDS (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1). According to the Newsday, Long Island under the reauthorization bill has received $3 million in Ryan White funding to date. Additional funding will be announced later this year, but some AIDS advocates predict an overall loss of $1.5 million to $1.7 million for both counties. The lawsuit is being heard in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Long Island Newsday, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.