HIV care providers applaud Congress' extension of Ryan White program
21-Oct-2009 Arlington, Va. - Medical providers on the front lines of HIV care applaud the U.S. Congress for extending the
Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, helping to ensure that more than half a million low-income, uninsured, or underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS have
access to lifesaving care. The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition (RWMPC) are pleased with Congress'
four-year extension of this critical safety net and urge President Obama to quickly sign this important legislation.
"As HIV clinicians and researchers, many of whom have been providing HIV care since the mid-1980s, it is gratifying to
see so many of our patients benefiting from the current treatment approaches, especially compared with the heartbreaking patient outcomes we saw
earlier in the pandemic," said Michael S. Saag, MD, FIDSA, HIVMA chair-elect. "These remarkable outcomes simply would not be
possible without support from the Ryan White Program. We thank Congress for extending this vital program for four years, and we
call on the president to quickly sign this legislation to ensure that our patients have access to the care they need."
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 would authorize a 5 percent annual increase in funding for the program,
which funds medical care and other services for individuals who otherwise would likely go without care. With more than 50,000 new cases of
HIV infection in this country every year, HIVMA and RWMPC urge lawmakers to increase Ryan White funding annually by at least this
authorized amount, if not more, during the next four years to help address the growing need for treatment.
"Even before the current recession hit, many HIV clinics and providers were struggling to maintain the level
of services that have made them so effective at delivering lifesaving care to their patients," said Kathleen Clanon, MD, RWMPC
co-chair. "As the strains on our health care system grow, HIV caseloads rise, and state HIV programs are threatened by
additional budget cuts, adequate funding increases for the Ryan White Program will be critical to ensuring that
patients continue to receive the multidisciplinary care they need, even when they cannot afford it."
With lawmakers finalizing health care reform legislation, the extension of the Ryan White Program is vital to ensuring there are
no gaps in coverage or access to care for those living with HIV/AIDS as reforms are implemented nationwide. Additionally, health reform offers
a unique opportunity to increase support for the medical home model of care provided by Ryan White programs and to integrate these programs
into the reformed health care system.
"Ryan White programs, at HIV clinics around the country, are models for delivering high-quality, cost-effective
care to people with chronic conditions," said J. Kevin Carmichael, MD, RWMPC co-chair. "This patient-centered approach, known as
the medical home model, treats the whole person by providing a range of services that HIV/AIDS patients need to stay healthy.
It's critical to keeping people with HIV in treatment and addressing their complex health care needs."
Treatment advances have transformed HIV infection from a death sentence to a chronic condition for many patients, but only for those with
ongoing access to medical care. "Funding through Ryan White has allowed HIV clinics across the country to develop model programs to
deliver this comprehensive and coordinated care for more than a decade," said Dr. Saag. "We could not do the work we do every
day without this support, and this four-year extension will help ensure that it continues."
The Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition (RWMPC) was formed in 2006 to be a voice for medical providers across the nation delivering
quality care to their patients through Part C of the Ryan White CARE Act program. Ryan White Part C funds comprehensive HIV care and
treatment-the services that are directly responsible for the dramatic decreases in AIDS-related mortality and morbidity over
the last decade. We speak for those who often cannot speak for themselves and we advocate for a full range of primary
care services for this unique population. We have a broad and diverse membership that represents highly qualified
medical professionals and administrators who are Part C grantees across the nation. RWMPC is sponsored by
the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA).
HIVMA is the professional home for more than 3,600 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals
dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes
quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic
informed by science and social justice. IDSA is a professional society representing more than 8,600
physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information, visit
our websites: www.hivma.org and www.idsociety.org .
Infectious Diseases Society of America