A non-profit providing insurance coverage for Floridians with HIV and AIDS is picketing the state’s Agency For Health Care Administration headquarters. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation says nearly 2,000 patients could have service disrupted if a long-standing Medicaid contract is dropped.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation wants to see Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration keep one of the Foundation's non-profits, Positive Healthcare, under its Medicaid contract. Not doing so would mean a vulnerable population could miss treatment, according to AHF Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane. He says Medicaid officials are not including Positive Healthcare in negotiations for its Managed Care program.
“The benefits haven’t been canceled, I want to be clear. As we understand it, this was an intent to negotiate contract, and negotiations are going on with other providers, and not with us,” Kahane said. “We’ve been providing care for this population since the beginning of the program. Our audits have always been spotless, and our care is all about outcomes.”
Mallory McManus is communications director for state health officials. In a statement, she says her agency is concerned Positive Healthcare violated a Florida law prohibiting organizations vying for contracts from contacting the Governor’s office or state lawmakers during the negotiation process. Violators of what’s called the “blackout provision” can be disqualified from the selection process.
Tracy Jones is one of dozens who came out to the AHCA headquarters to picket for Positive Healthcare.
“I’m really disturbed by the fact that we’re not doing the best for people,” Jones said. “People need choice, they need to be able to have facilities that cater to their needs that are specific to the disease state that they’re in.”
Jones says she has a personal connection to the cause – one of her family members who died from AIDS had to keep her diagnosis shrouded in secrecy while going through treatment.
“Many, many years ago, I lost a cousin to cancer – and it really was HIV, but that was what my family chose to use. And it really was important to me that people who are living with HIV and AIDS get to live out and loud and proud, and have the ability to get good healthcare and good medicine,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Positive HealthCare advocates will have to wait until the end of this month for AHCA to post notice of its awarded contracts.