VOTE NOW FOR THE BEST OF ORLANDO® 2021!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Protests continue over Florida's plan to terminate AIDS Healthcare Foundation contract

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 11:05 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SPFLAUM VIA ADOBE STOCK
A fight over who should provide care for patients struggling with HIV and AIDS is growing increasingly bitter as opponents continue to blame Gov. Rick Scott.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is battling a state plan to terminate its Medicaid contract, has been leading protests against the Scott administration.



More than 100 HIV/AIDS activists will gather Thursday at Orlando’s Hispanic Office for Local Assistance to protest the decision to remove the foundation’s managed-care plan from the state Medicaid program.

The foundation is also paying for ads on Orlando and Miami stations saying Scott is denying patients a choice of health-care plans, which the administration says is “totally false.”

McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for Scott, said the dispute has “nothing to do with helping patients – this is just about a private vendor being upset that the state will be contracting with someone else to do more for this vulnerable population.”

One of the talking points used by protesters is that Florida ranks first in the number of HIV diagnoses and that the virus is disproportionately impacting the Hispanic community. Scott, a Republican, is running for U.S. Senate and faces longtime Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the November election.

Both candidates have been courting Puerto Rican voters during the campaign.

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of Hispanic males living in Florida with an HIV diagnosis is 1.9 times that of white males. The rate of Hispanic females living with an HIV diagnosis in Florida is 2.5 times higher than that of white females.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration announced in April that it was going to contract for HIV and AIDS care with Clear Health Alliance, an HMO owned by Simply Healthcare.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation plan, known as Positive Healthcare, would not be awarded specialty contracts in Medicaid regions 10 and 11, which include Fort Lauderdale and Miami, ground zero for new HIV infections.

Positive Healthcare has challenged the agency’s decision in state administrative court, but it faces an uphill battle in remaining an option for Medicaid patients in Southeast Florida.

Nevertheless, Imara Canady, regional communication and community engagement director for the Southern bureau of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said Scott has the influence to change the agency’s position if he wanted.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 21, 2021

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation