AIDS advocates protest Medicaid offices over denial of HIV care contract

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AIDS advocates protest Medicaid offices over denial of HIV care contract. WINK News

Members of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation are protesting for choice when it comes to HIV treatment and prevention.

Florida Medicaid officials are denying the renewal of an HIV care contract with AHF’s Positive Healthcare Organization after a nearly two-decade partnership, said David Poole, the director of legislative affairs for the foundation.

“We couldn’t understand why a state agency would basically disregard our part in serving this population and helping stem this epidemic,” Poole said.

The change could disrupt care for nearly 2,000 vulnerable HIV patients living in Florida, according to the foundation. As a result, Poole and other members are protesting outside Medicaid offices in Florida, Miami and Tallahassee.

“They leave their care completely, and that’s the worst possible thing to happen with someone living with HIV,” Poole said.

Any major disruptions in care could add to the more than 100,000 people living with the disease, according to Poole.

Poole stressed that keeping treatment options open is so important because, “Anyone who is having sex is at risk for HIV.”

AHF is expected to protest outside the Medicaid office Thursday in the state Capitol.

Medicaid spokeswoman Mallory McManus released the following statement Wednesday to WINK News:

“To be clear, there will be no disruption or reduction in care and no disruption to services for Medicaid enrollees living with HIV/AIDS. AHCA is fully committed to providing the care these individuals deserve. Our Agency is in the midst of a statutorily required competitive re-procurement of the state’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program. Positive Healthcare is a private company that has submitted a bid. Our Agency has not selected any vendors yet. We are now concerned that recent and ongoing actions by Positive Healthcare could be a violation of Florida law pertaining to competitive procurements.”

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