AIDS in Arkansas 2008
Beginning last week this forum has had a series of posting exploring various facets within the HIV/ AIDS construct. Our overview was propelled from a e-blast from local advocate, Bob Coffey as well as, a sampling of those end users and clients who have had a range of experiences ranging from inconsistent information to a "rat in maze" atmosphere. As of this posting a meeting has been scheduled this Friday at 10 a.m. with Donnie Smith, Director, Center of Health Protection, at the ADH. From the tone of the e-mail, this meeting will be an "open door" opportunity for those who have expressed dissatisfaction with the system and a means to clarity on any misinformation. Even though I will not be able to attend, It would be further interesting to know exactly who and how many will take their concerns to Mr. Smith. There is power in numbers and if this is a "solo" rant while others sit on the sidelines the effectiveness may be marginal at best. I have read a brief listing of the questions ( see below) and what totally intrigues me is the seemingly routine lack of accountability juxtaposed to the mission statement listed on their website, http://www.arkansashivstd.com/ which states the following:
Establish a coordinated system to deliver HIV-related medical services where a comprehensive continuum of care is sound, practical and applicable across consortia, and where limited resources are maximized.
To provide accessible medical care, medications, and supportive services to low-income individuals infected with HIV statewide.
Here are a few those inquires....
1. Asked questions back at the end of 07 and start of 08 relating to changes that occurred with income limits being raised to 51k for single person. Also inquired on dental increase from 500.00 per year to somewhere up to 2300.00 to 2500.00. Have not received a response.
2. Requested information from AAF in Nov and Dec on the same matter. Finally, went to AAF Executive Director, Berna Thomas in Feb and was advised she didn't have a copy of letter that was sent to Consortia Care Clients (individuals already meeting income criteria), nor did she have anything in writing about the changes.
3. Went to ADH HIV/STD/HEPC office. Asked for Kim, she was in Wash DC. Asked for Gary, he was unavailable (medical), asked for Dr Jim Phillips, and was told he was on the second floor. Finally, asked for Tere, whom I had worked with on ARCPG in years past. She gave me copy of new formulary, copy of in-house brochure, Jan 2008, outlining changes, and letter that went to clients of Consortia Care.
4. Called Kim about a week ago and asked to have her send out brochures with information to all the Executive Directors of Consortia Cares throughout the state. Was told that they were waiting till graphics could make it appear more professional, and waiting for her supervisor to okay release of the information.
5. Hearing that 3 million dollars was passed to the state for HIV. Also hearing that based on the late information out to potential users, that much of these funds may have to be returned in the near future. Question here is: What about those who are scheduled later in the year for dental. Dental plans that have been submitted, are those considered funded and obligated, and will those obligated funds remain with the state for use?
Sounds like someone has some splanin to do on what's really going on and ultimately my question is WHY? I realize that changing government and/or state regulations can be daunting. But aren't these individuals suppose to be "seasoned" pro's at delivering this information or services? What's with all these training seminars, meetings, etc, if those being trained are not capable of translating organizational jargon in to basic, yet comprehensive info for the masses. Now, let me be clear, I hope that this meeting will be approached from a productive angle and not just a mere bitch slap session. It sounds like to me that there are some glaring issues that need addressing accompanied with some concrete answers. Of course the floor is still open here for your concerns, comments, rebuttals or perspectives. We'll keep you updated....