The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) functions as the networking and advisory body for the Florida-Department of Health (FL-DOH), Ryan White Care (RWC) grant in Broward County. Its monthly meetings are open to the public.
This meeting focused on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace enrollment, post-election issues, and an issue between agencies.
Joshua Rodriguez, FL-DOH RWC, reported that the open enrollment period for the 2017 ACA Marketplace runs through January 31, 2017. For free assistance with enrolling, people should call 954-561-9681 ext. 1342.
Leonard Jones, Broward-RWC, reported on the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) enrollment. ADAP has raised its upper eligibility limit from 250 to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This makes about 200 RWC clients eligible for ADAP. These 200 clients have to enroll in ADAP now to ensure certification by April. They will maintain their current coverage until ADAP certifies them.
Jones also reported that, post-election, Broward-RWC is proceeding as usual. Jones said, “We don’t want to jump in without knowing all the facts. It’s still important for people to make appointments, certify, and re-certify.”
Joey Wynn, SFAN Chair, also spoke about post-election issues. ACA will be around for at least the next two years, but changes may occur in 2017. ADAP and RWC have bipartisan support. Wynn pointed out that “Big Pharma”, hospitals, doctors, and their lobbyists would be very active in defending their payments from ADAP and RWC. Major changes will probably occur in Medicaid. It could be block-granted to the states with greater levels of scrutiny. “Blue” state Medicaid benefits could be reduced to the meager levels of Medicaid in Southern states, but those meager levels would remain.
Looking to the future, Wynn said, “We can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing. The political environment has changed.”
Wynn spoke about a letter that he, as chair of SFAN, had sent in October to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In that letter, Wynn charged that SFAN had been excluded from contributing to the Integrated Prevention and Care HIV Plan. In that letter, Wynn asked HRSA to set up a meeting of Broward County HIV planning bodies to resolve this issue.
At SFAN, Wynn argued for the equality of the three Broward bodies: the HIV Planning Council (HIVPC) for Broward-RWC, SFAN for FL-DOH RWC, and the HIV Prevention Planning Council. He wanted to re-establish the joint committees between HIVPC and SFAN. Wynn stated, “We need to come together. Let’s partner together.”
Leonard Jones, Broward-RWC, agreed that people should be working together. Broward-RWC had no intent to exclude people from contributing to the Integrated Plan. Jones challenged the claim of equal status for SFAN, the HIV Planning Council, and the Prevention Planning Council. Prevention uses a different language than Treatment. Organizational culture differs between Treatment and Prevention. Jones reported that a key challenge concerned merging the cultures of Treatment and Prevention. Jones said that they needed to “formulate a methodology to get the work done.”
Lynn Albertini reported that ViiV Healthcare had changed its reimbursement policies. ViiV no longer requires income verification. Its help-line has 31 live multi-lingual operators to help with reimbursement issues.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, January 6, 2017, at 10 a.m., the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.
To learn which plans ADAP has approved for 2017, please call 954-467-4700, ext. 5630. RWC and ADAP will only pay for these approved plans.
The “Florida HIV Needs Assessment Survey” will be open until January 3, 2017. People can complete this anonymous survey online at www.floridaneeds.org. Paper copies are available at County Health Departments.
The ViiV hotline is 1-844-588-3288 with the on-line address, www.viivconnect.com.