Medicaid Health Homes: An Opportunity to Improve HIV Care and Treatment

by Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents an unparalleled opportunity to decrease HIV and viral hepatitis infection rates, increase early access to care and treatment, and promote health equity. However, in order to use the ACA as a set of tools to meet these goals, we as a community must be prepared to not only adapt to the changes the ACA will bring, but to innovate along with a changing health care landscape. The ACA’s Medicaid health home program – which provides states with enhanced federal funding to offer a set of care coordination services to Medicaid beneficiaries living with chronic conditions – provides an opportunity to leverage the expertise and “whole person” models of care that are the hallmark of the Ryan White Program. On World AIDS Day, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the Department’s increased support and commitment to working with states to ensure that this program includes people living with HIV, including codifying HIV as a qualifying condition in formal rulemaking (HIV is currently included as qualifying condition through informal guidance). It is now up to states to take advantage of this program to improve care and treatment for people living with HIV and viral hepatitis. Continue reading

Standing Up for an AIDS-Free Generation on World AIDS Day

By Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD

Standing Up for an AIDS-Free GenerationTomorrow is World AIDS Day and as I reflect on the past year, I realize that collectively, many developments over the past year are very important in our fight to eradicate HIV here at home and abroad. At AIDS 2012, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said “We have a historic opportunity — with science on our side — to make the achievement of an AIDS-free generation a reality,” and he is right. We are in the midst of implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will increase access to and quality of care for people living with HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis and the first over-the-counter HIV test were both approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Just last week the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a draft recommendation in strong support of routine HIV testing for all adolescents and adults ages 15 through 65, pregnant women, and others at increased risk for HIV younger than 15 and older than 65 by assigning it a Grade “A”. This is a monumental shift in the USPSTF’s previous recommendation of testing only for people who are “at risk” for HIV and pregnant women.  Under the ACA, this recommendation will require that HIV tests for all be reimbursed by private insurers.
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The Clock is Ticking: Moving Forward on Affordable Care Act Implementation Post Election

By Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

The Clock is Ticking: Moving Forward on Affordable Care Act Implementation Post Election

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dibytes/4647624108/

Since its passage in March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has arguably had two near-death experiences. The first came this past June when the Supreme Court ruled on the law’s constitutionality, upholding the entire law by a razor-thin margin. The second came a few short weeks ago as the country voted to reelect President Obama to a second term and beat back several Senate candidates who had voiced pointed opposition to the ACA.

Post Election Affordable Care Act Implementation

As the dust of the election results settles and the nation collectively recovers from a long and contentious election season, a couple of things are clear. First, much of the uncertainty about the law’s survival has been removed, as wholesale repeal is virtually impossible given the current make-up in Congress. Continue reading

Making Health Reform Work for People Living with HIV/AIDS

By Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

USCA 2012 Closing Plenary - Affordable Care Act

Left to right: Amy Killelea (NASTAD), John Peller (AIDS Foundation of Chicago), Anne Donnelly (Project Inform), and Celeste Davis (Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation)

The closing plenary at the 2012 U.S. Conference on AIDS tackled the topic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). I joined my colleagues Anne Donnelly (Project Inform), John Peller (AIDS Foundation of Chicago), and Celeste Davis (Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation) to discuss the role that state and local HIV providers, advocates, and consumers must play to ensure that the ACA is implemented in ways that increase HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

The ACA has been the law of the land for over two years, and there are two things that are abundantly clear. First, the ACA – if fully implemented – is still the game changer that the HIV community fought for in terms of its potential to reduce new infections, increase access to care and treatment, and reduce health disparities. Second, there is no road map for implementation. Unless HIV providers, advocates, and consumers are actively involved in every step of implementation, we as a community will miss an important opportunity to use the ACA to fix our broken health care system in ways that work for people living with HIV. Continue reading