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Ryan White grant comes just in time for surge in new HIV patients

Story Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 16:40:00 CDT

EVMS has received critical, long-term federal funding to care for indigent HIV patients.

The additional funding will greatly assist the school in meeting it mission to assist HIV patients unable to afford their treatment, says Edward C. Oldfield, MD, Director of the EVMS Center for the Comprehensive Care of Immune Deficiency (C3ID). EVMS physicians see the majority of low-income HIV patients in Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore.

The school depends on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program to pay for HIV-related services for patients who lack sufficient health care coverage or financial resources. EVMS receives Part A Ryan White funding to run six clinics in Hampton Roads and Part B funding for two rural clinics – one on the Eastern Shore and the other in Gloucester.

The new funding, known as Part C, provides $900,000 over three years with a non-competitive renewal in succeeding years. The region only recently became eligible for Part C, which focuses on early intervention services in primary care settings.

EVMS is one of only a handful of health care organizations to receive this Part C funding.

The money comes in the nick of time. While the number of C3ID Ryan White patients has mushroomed 250 percent since 2007 in the Part A clinics, funding has grown just 12 percent. And the volume of new patients continues to soar.

The numbers are staggering. In just this upcoming year, we're looking at potentially 518 patients new to us, including newly diagnosed, people who have been out of care and returned, and those who transfer their care," Dr. Oldfield says.

To compensate for the growing patient load and its limited federal funding, C3ID sought efficiencies at every turn. Through a series of cost-saving measures, Dr. Oldfield and his team reduced the annual cost of care per person from $2,319 to $1,530.

"This funding is a wonderful addition to EVMS and reflects the superb efforts of the entire Infectious Disease Division," says Jerry L. Nadler, MD, Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine.

The new support also comes at a time when efforts to control the spread of disease are paying off.

 "Being on treatment decreases HIV transmission by 96 percent," Dr. Oldfield says. "So the mantra now is treatment is prevention."

 EVMS C3ID worked closely with Collaborative Research, a public health consulting firm, which authored the grant application on behalf of EVMS.