Today, it will be another scorching day in Washington, DC, where the mercury is rising up to 100 degrees as AIDS advocates and activists pound the marble hallways of Congress to save AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs).
Nearly 150 people, mostly from states with a wait list and other cost containment measures for ADAP, are here in Washington to learn what more the grassroots can do to get Congress to finally take action and provide the funding to fill a Grand Canyon sized gap. It's a gap that is now growing to well over 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS from their lifesaving medications. Activists are asking if Congress is waiting for people to die on wait lists as in 2006, now feeling like death panels, before Congress shows the compassion to take action.
Although Congress is in recess this week, we will be walking the halls on the Hill to meet with Hill staff. We are asking activists and advocates at home to visit the district offices of their Members of Congress, and ask them to save AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs. Congress is not going to take action unless we get into their offices and let them know that they need to make this issue a priority.
In a press release issued by the Community Access National Network, Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who sits on the Congressional House Appropriations Committee stated, "If the Congress and the Administration cannot find additional money to fix ADAP, this crisis will certainly spread to many more states. States with larger HIV/AIDS populations such as New York will certainly feel the pain as we are already using money set aside for next year's ADAP budget to fill the gap left by the federal government this year."
On July 2, 2010, the National Alliance of State & Territorial Directors (NASTD) released the latest ADAP Watch on the growing crisis.
Since the release of the ADAP Watch, Georgia began a wait list; another 1,200 people are being kicked off the ADAP in New Jersey and Ohio. In Illinois, David Munar from AIDS Foundation of Chicago stated in an e-mail, "Illinois's ADAP is on the verge of collapse and we're scrabbling to do all we can at the federal and state levels to avert DISENROLLMENT of 500+ individuals who currently depend on ADAP and keep the program open for the next 1200 new enrollees in the year ahead (about 100 people join the project each month). We don't have a wait list yet but we already have a serious budget crisis. Illinois and other states that have averted closing their programs to new enrollees need help along with other troubled programs. Federal help only for wait-list states is a strong DISINCENTIVE for states like Illinois that have held on this long.
The ADAP Watch
ADAPs with Waiting Lists (2,090 individuals, as of July 1, 2010)
Florida: 523 individuals
Hawaii: 10 individuals
Idaho: 26 individuals
Iowa: 97 individuals
Kentucky: 198 individuals
Louisiana: 112 individuals*
Montana: 20 individuals
North Carolina: 783 individuals
South Carolina: 187 individuals
South Dakota: 22 individuals
Utah: 112 individuals
ADAPs with Other Cost-containment Strategies (instituted since April 1, 2009)
Arizona: reduced formulary
Arkansas: reduced formulary, lowered financial eligibility to 200% of FPL
Colorado: reduced formulary
Georgia: waiting list as of July 1, 2010
Illinois: reduced formulary
Iowa: reduced formulary
Kentucky: reduced formulary
Louisiana: capped enrollment, discontinued reimbursement of laboratory assays
Missouri: reduced formulary
North Carolina: reduced formulary
North Dakota: capped enrollment, cap on Fuzeon, lowered financial eligibility to 300% FPL
Utah: reduced formulary, lowered financial eligibility to 250% FPL
Washington: client cost sharing, reduced formulary (for uninsured clients only)
ADAPs Considering New/Additional Cost-containment Measures (before March 31, 2011**)
Arizona: waiting list
California: proposed elimination of ADAP services in city and county jails
Florida: reduced formulary, lowered financial eligibility
Illinois: reduced formulary, lowered financial eligibility, monthly expenditure cap
Ohio: reduced formulary, lowered financial eligibility, capped enrollment, client cost sharing, annual and monthly expenditure caps
Oregon: reduced formulary, client cost sharing, annual expenditure cap
Wyoming: reduced formulary
*Louisiana has a capped enrollment on their program. This number is a representation of their current unmet need.
**March 31, 2011 is the end of ADAP FY2010. ADAP fiscal years begin April 1 and end March 31.
NASTAD (www.NASTAD.org) is a nonprofit national association of state health department HIV/AIDS program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education, and supportive services programs funded by state and federal governments. To receive The ADAP Watch, please e-mail Britten Ginsburg at bginsburg@NASTAD.org.