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Health Department Plans to End Enrollments for AIDS/HIV Program
  Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Sept 24, Michelle Dynesrep
CDC Prevention News
After Sept. 30, HIV/AIDS patients will no longer be able to enroll in care and drug assistance programs with the Wyoming Department of Health. Rising costs are to blame, said Kurt Galbraith, the department's HIV/AIDS coordinator.
Patients already in the system will continue to get service, although some program offerings will be reduced, and mental health counseling and transportation assistance have been eliminated. Patients will be referred to other sources for these needs. The state will maintain a waiting list after Sept. 30, Galbraith said, and these patients will be connected with a case manager who will help them find additional resources in other parts of the state and through pharmaceutical companies.
Theresa Bush, coordinator for the Ryan White Title III Early Intervention Services program at the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming in Casper, said she learned Wednesday of the enrollment cap. She said that while the Casper program provides dental services, nutritional assistance, and mental health, substance abuse and adherence counseling, it has no program for prescription assistance. An evaluation is underway to see if prescription assistance can be added, she said.
Galbraith said the average monthly cost of care for the state program's 87 clients climbed from $771 per patient in 2003 to $1,190 per patient in 2004. The average number of drugs per program patient increased from three to four in the last year. No generic versions are available for any of the HIV/AIDS medications, Galbraith said. The federal government's contribution to the program has remained level since 2000.
The average cost of the program is about $61,000 per month. Capping enrollment will allow it to be paid for through March 31, Galbraith said.
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