Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why #SaveRyanWhitePartD?

For decades, the Ryan White program has been a lifeline to millions of individuals living with HIV in America through its provision of medical care, prescription drug assistance, and supplementary programs to support improved health and overall quality of life. 

While all components of the Ryan White program are of immense value, Part D has been of particular importance as it serves some of the most vulnerable populations living with and/or affected by HIV--women, infants, children, youth, teens, and their families/caregivers.

There are currently approximately 53,000 people served by over 100 Part D grantees across the country. That is why it is appalling that this vital program is being eliminated. The President's 2015 fiscal year budget proposes consolidating the entire Part D program into the Part C program!

Part of the rationale for eliminating Part D is that 67% of Part D funded agencies also receive Part C, so presumably by consolidating the programs administrative costs will be reduced and presumably there will be more funds available.

However, have been no guarantees made that ALL of the communities currently served by Ryan White Part D will survive this consolidation, only that they can "apply" to be a Part C grantee, with no promise that they will be selected.

This uncertainty puts innumerable families across the country at risk. Lip service has been paid to the importance of securing the health and stability of the vulnerable populations served by the Part D program, but that has been eclipsed by actions which indicate otherwise.

There is a community effort that is gaining momentum in an attempt to get HRSA and the US Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider this matter, involving a plethora of individuals, families, community advisory boards, policy advocates, and several prominent organizations that work on behalf of HIV+ and affected women, children, youth, and families.

Several organizations are working on behalf of this issue: the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth, and Families; Positive Women's Network; Women's HIV Program; Positively U; many Ryan White Part D grantees, and others.

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