The Ryan White Care (RWC) program requires its programs to have local advisory bodies. Broward County has two RWC programs. South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) functions as that advisory body for Florida’s Department of Health (FL-DOH) RWC programs in Broward County. SFAN’s monthly meetings are open to the public. Broward County also has a RWC program (Broward-RWC).
This meeting focused on four topics. Simone McPherson of FL-DOH Broward discussed Broward’s new Test and Treat Program. Joey Wynn, SFAN Chair, discussed possible changes to the Medicaid Project AIDS Care (PAC) Waiver program. Richard Morris, of Broward-RWC, reported on its program. Morgan and Ashley Mayfaire discussed TransSOCIAL’s services.
Broward Test and Treat
Simone McPherson gave a preliminary report on Broward’s Test and Treat program. It began on May 1, 2017. Within 24 hours, this new program can link HIV testers to HIV treatment. This program has linked about 135 people living with HIV to antiretroviral treatment. Most people in this program had already tested HIV positive. They, however, had never entered or had left treatment. The rest had no awareness of their HIV infection.
Changes to Medicaid Project AIDS CARE (PAC) Waivers
The Florida Medicaid program uses waivers to prevent expensive hospital care. These waivers specify exceptions to Medicaid rules for diseases such as AIDS and Cystic Fibrosis, among others. People with these diseases have great risk for requiring expensive hospital care. These waivers “waive” rules that bar Medicaid payments for less expensive outpatient care that avoids more expensive hospital care.
Joey Wynn, Chair of SFAN, discussed possible changes to Project AIDS Care (PAC) Waivers. In Florida, about 7,800 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are eligible for PAC Waivers. According to Wynn, last year, about 7,000 PLWHA accessed only one PAC Waiver service. That service consisted of a single case management phone call per month.
Wynn said that these PLWHA required more than one monthly case management phone call. Visual inspection for adequate food, medications, and general health may be necessary.
Wynn argued that providers of those services would have become more business-like. They will have to market their agencies to Medicaid Managed Care Insurance Plans. They will have to show evidence that their services improved the health of their clients and kept them out of hospitals.
Wynn discussed possible service substitutions. Medicaid will stop paying for services without evidence of their effectiveness. One PAC Waiver service, massage therapy, has failed to show evidence that it works. If a service fails to show that it works, another could replace it. For example, physical therapy could replace massage therapy among allowed Medicaid expenses.
Medicaid cannot make these changes before 2018 at the earliest. People currently in the PAC Waiver program should stay in contact with their case manager.
Richard Morris, of Broward-RWC, reported that 84 percent of ADAP clients had achieved viral suppression. With a suppressed viral load, a person maintains their own health. Increasing evidence indicates that they have a miniscule chance of infecting others. This exceeds the goal of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
Morgan and Ashley Mayfaire started TransSOCIAL last year. Morgan Mayfaire found it difficult to locate services to help with his transition.
While TransSOCIAL began as a calendar of events for transgender people, it now has several programs. It provides financial aid for legal name-changes and updating ID documents. TransSOCIAL conducts Trans and LGBT+ competency trainings. TransSOCIAL has voucher programs for PrEP and Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, August 4, 2017 at 10 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.
To find out more about TransSOCIAL, please visit www.TransSOCIAL.org.
Follow Sean McShee on Twitter @SeanMcShee