Broward County HIV Protest: Florida Medicaid Contract Denial Will Disrupt Health Coverage, Care for Thousands

In Advocacy, Featured, News by AHF

FT LAUDERDALE (April 9, 2018) – AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nation’s largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider and largest global AIDS organization, today blasted Florida Medicaid officials for their failure to renew an HIV care contract with AHF’s Positive Healthcare — a respected non-profit which has been providing critical health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Florida since 1999. AHF says the state’s move will recklessly disrupt care for a vulnerable population of nearly 2,000 Florida HIV patients.

In response to the decision, AHF and Positive Healthcare are spearheading a PROTEST in FORT LAUDERDALE on Tuesday, April 10th starting at 10:30am in front of the Broward County Area Office of the state’s Medicaid agency (1400 W. Commercial Blvd., Ft Lauderdale FL 33309). The protesters—expected to be about 50 HIV/AIDS advocates, community partners & others—will seek to persuade state officials to renew its Medicaid contract with Positive Healthcare.

WHAT: PROTEST over Florida Medicaid HIV Care Contract Denial HIV/AIDS advocates, community partners & others to protest Florida Medicaid’s move to deny renewal of an HIV care contract with AHF’s Positive Healthcare.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM

WHERE: In front of: Florida Medicaid Program’s Broward Area Office, 1400 W. Commercial Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309

WHO: PROTESTERS: 50+ HIV/AIDS advocates, community partners and others

“The reality is that Florida is the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in the United States today, and people living with HIV should have the right to choose where they receive their HIV care,” said Mike Kahane, AHF Bureau Chief, Southern Region “AHF is a highly respected non-profit organization devoted to serving the needs of the patient. Our Positive Healthcare program has been doing so in partnership with the State of Florida on behalf of its Medicaid population living with HIV for nearly twenty years. And unlike most large insurance providers like Aetna and United Health, Positive Healthcare provides wraparound services, including access to our AHF healthcare centers where expert HIV medical care is provided, as well as access to our AHF Pharmacies, all staffed with teams solely dedicated to helping patients overcome barriers to care. If this critical health coverage is eliminated by Medicaid officials, thousands of Floridians living with HIV will have their care disrupted.”

AHF Launches Statewide Ad Campaign Challenging Florida Medicaid Officials on HIV Care Contract

In addition to the Florida Medicaid/HIV care contract protest set for Tuesday in Ft. Lauderdale, AHF advocates also kicked off a statewide newspaper advocacy ad campaign with a full-page, full color ad which ran in five major daily newspapers in Florida on Sunday, April 8th.

The ad, with the headline, “Why Are Florida Medicaid Officials Disrupting Healthcare Coverage for People Living with HIV?”, ran in the ‘Miami Herald,’ the ‘Sun-Sentinel’ in Ft. Lauderdale, the ‘Tallahassee Democrat,’ the ‘Tampa Bay Times’ and the ‘Florida Times-Union,’ in Jacksonville.

The advocacy ads included several alarming statistics about HIV in Florida including the following facts:

  • Nearly 5,000 people in Florida were infected with HIV in 2016 alone, which means one out of every eight new HIV infections in the United States occurred in Florida.
  • South Florida leads the nation in new HIV diagnoses at 38.7 new infections per every 100,000 people. In contrast, the overall rate in the United States is 12.3 new infections per every 100,000 people.
  • Nearly 136,000 Floridians are estimated to be living with HIV, but one in six is still not aware of his or her HIV-positive status.
  • More than 30,000 Floridians currently living with HIV are not receiving care for their infection.

The ad urged readers to go to the website: HIVcare.org/Florida to learn more and how you can support those living with HIV.

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