Pocan Introduces HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act
Washington, D.C - U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) introduced the HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act today, a bill which improves health care access for people living with HIV/AIDs by strengthening Ryan White Part C clinics. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program provides medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS who do not have adequate health coverage or resources to cope with the disease. Part C clinics deliver quality, comprehensive HIV/AIDs care to over 275,000 people a year. These clinics, which serve a large number of uninsured and low-income individuals, are underfunded and in desperate need of increased resources in order to assist patients.
The HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act, introduced in the Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin, authorizes all Part C clinics to be eligible for enhanced Medicaid funding and allows Part C clinics to expand their operations to care for the growing number of vulnerable HIV/AIDs population. Since 2001, the number of Part C clinics has increased by 74 percent, while funding only increased by 8 percent highlighting the need for improved support for these clinics.
“Improving access to health care for people living with HIV/AIDS in our communities is critical,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “There is an estimated 8,200 people living with HIV in Wisconsin, but only 63 percent of those diagnosed were receiving health care. This bill will increase support for Part C clinics so they can continue providing vital care to those most in need. We must take all necessary steps to improve access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.”
“Senator Baldwin and Representative Pocan’s leadership is truly commendable. Unfettered access to high quality health care for people with HIV is a key component of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” said Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Gifford. “Today in the United States, the difference between a long, healthy life or rapid disease progression and significant illness for HIV patients is having a primary care physician who is knowledgeable about treating HIV disease. This bill will make sure that more Americans with HIV have access to this care.”
"The Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition greatly appreciates Representatives Pocan and Lee's long-standing support of HIV programs and the clients they serve. By introducing legislation that would authorize eligible Ryan White Part C medical clinics to receive enhanced Medicaid funding, this bill would help ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS have access to life-saving, comprehensive, and effective HIV care and treatment,” said Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition Co-Chair Dr. Michelle Ogle. “Congress should pass this bill swiftly to help the nation achieve its goal of an AIDS-free generation as quickly as possible."
The HIV Clinical Services Improvement Act is currently cosponsored by HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and is also supported by the AIDS Resources Center of Wisconsin, AIDS United, Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition, and the HIV Medicine Association.