University of Miami Project Outreach HIV/AIDS Clinic Closes
The University of Miami's Project Outreach center for HIV/AIDS patients closed last week because too few patients utilized its services, Michael Kolber, director of the university's Comprehensive AIDS Program, recently said, the Miami Herald reports.
A review of the clinic found that only about 100 patients returned for treatment on a continuous basis, and the clinic needed to serve about 300 to 400 patients to stay open, Kolber said. In addition, the area had few HIV/AIDS services when the clinic started in 1997, but several other clinics that provide such services have opened since then, Kolber added.
According to Kolber, the clinic staffed a social worker, a nurse and two outreach specialists. Physicians visited the clinic weekly, and patients who required a specialist had to travel to another facility. "I don't think we were serving the patients as well as we could have," Kolber said, adding that the closure was "primarily a patient care issue." He added, "We would have kept it open if we were serving the population we could serve." According to the Herald, some Project Outreach patients have said they will have difficulty accessing care now that the clinic has closed.
Col. Brodes Hartley -- president and CEO of Community Health of South Dade Inc., which operates two area facilities that provide HIV/AIDS services -- said that Project Outreach staff contacted him prior to the closure. He added that CHI clinics are prepared to meet the medical needs of Project Outreach's patients. "We have a team and have been treating HIV and AIDS patients for many, many years, even before the outreach center opened up," Hartley said, adding that CHI clinics will "pick up the slack for those patients who are willing to utilize [CHI's] services" (Dellagloria, Miami Herald, 11/6).