Time is Running Out for Mississippi’s HIV-Positive Medicaid Beneficiaries
ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 30 -- Medicaid beneficiaries living with HIV/AIDS in Mississippi are about to be denied access to medications they need to stay alive.
A law that takes effect tomorrow, July 1, limits Mississippi Medicaid beneficiaries to two brand-name drugs. But controlling HIV infection requires three drugs, and all of them are brand name.
Gov. Haley Barbour has not responded to a letter written two weeks ago by HIVMA Board of Directors Chair Paul Volberding, MD, imploring him to change the policy.
“The Mississippi Medicaid program’s two brand-name prescription drug limit leaves Mississippi’s poorest and sickest residents with no options other than substandard HIV care,” Dr. Volberding wrote. “Substandard care for people with AIDS has deadly consequences,” he added. The virus mutates and becomes resistant to treatment. Patients who were living normal, productive lives get sicker and die.
“This is a short-sighted cost-cutting measure that will cost Mississippi more in the long run,” said Deborah Konkle-Parker, PhD, FNP, a nurse practitioner at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a member of the HIVMA Board of Directors. “If you deny people medication to control HIV infection, they progress to full- blown AIDS and have to be hospitalized. That’s much more expensive than just paying for the medicines that would keep them out of the hospital in the first place,” she said.
Furthermore, the measure is a threat to public health. People who develop drug-resistant HIV infections can transmit resistant virus to others, making future cases harder and more expensive to treat.
“Forcing Medicaid beneficiaries to accept treatment that compromises their health, and public health, is medical malpractice,” Dr. Volberding said. “We urge Gov. Barbour to make an exception to the two brand-name drug policy for people whose lives depend on it.”
HIVMA’s letter to Gov. Barbour can be found on our website, http://www.hivma.org.
HIVMA is the professional home for more than 2,700 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. IDSA ( http://www.idsociety.org ) is a professional society representing about 8,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases.
- Contact Information
- Steve Baragona
- Media Contact
- Infectious Diseases Society of America
- Contact via E-mail
This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.
News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.