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The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) functions as the networking/advisory body for the Ryan White Care (RWC), Part B grant in Broward County. Its monthly meetings are open to the public.

Two issues dominated this meeting:

1. RWC clients using AIDS specialty pharmacies.
2. A report from the Florida HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN)

Joshua Rodriguez (Florida Department of Health, FL-DOH) presented a letter that Broward AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) will be sending to its clients. Joey Wynn, SFAN chair, noted an implication in the letter. It implied that ADAP would not pay back clients for out-of-pocket expenses from AIDS Specialty Pharmacies. ADAP would only pay back out-of-pocket expenses from CVS, the contracted Pharmacy Benefits Manager. According to Wynn, this contradicts assurances from state ADAP officials guaranteeing pharmacy choice. Rodriquez reported that Broward ADAP could not change the letter at this time, as the state ADAP had already approved it.

Wynn promised to bring this issue before the Florida HIV AIDS Advocacy Network. Two factors are involved:

  1. Pay back for co-pays and deductibles at AIDS Specialty Pharmacies.
    2. Responsibility for notifying ADAP that clients have picked up their meds. CVS has automated this process. While not technically difficult, AIDS Specialty Pharmacies lack an automated method to do so.

As AIDS Specialty Pharmacies cannot automatically notify ADAP, their clients have to notify Broward ADAP manually after they pick up their meds from an AIDS Specialty Pharmacy. This process limits client choice, increases client burden, and decreases overall efficiency.

Kim Saiswick, Florida HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Planning Network (FCPN), reported on FCPN. It will write the Comprehensive HIV Plan for the state of Florida.

In 2016, Florida must submit a comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment plan to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). HRSA and CDC provide almost the entire HIV budget for Florida. This comprehensive plan will describe Florida’s strategies, processes, and objectives in controlling and treating HIV for the next four years.

In addition to the state’s plan, areas with a heavy burden of HIV disease also have to submit their own comprehensive plans. These Eligible Metropolitan Areas (EMAs) can submit their plan jointly with the state or separately. Florida has six EMAs: Jacksonville; Tampa/Saint Petersburg; Orlando; Palm Beach; Broward and Miami-Dade.

As of press time, Broward County has not yet decided whether to submit jointly or separately with the state.

Saiswick also reported on presentations from that meeting. In one presentation, Scavnicky and Lieb described the results of a statewide Needs Assessment. Clients completed surveys that indicated whether they needed a given service, and if they were able to access it. More RWC clients were unable to access dental care than any other service. Out of 5,247 clients needing dental care, only 3,533 clients could access it. These figures refer to entire state of Florida. Services in Broward may show a different pattern.

HIV service providers also completed a separate survey. This allows comparison between provider and client perceptions of need. Providers and clients diverged on treatment adherence. Providers rated adherence a greater problem than clients did. In three areas, providers and clients generally agreed that current services were unable to meet needs: Peer Mentoring, Substance Abuse Services, and Mental Health Services.

SFAN re-elected all current offices: Joey Wynn, Chair; Rose Marie Williams, Vice-Chair; and Gary Hensley, Secretary. They will serve from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.

Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, January 8, 2016, at 10 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.