Florida Department of Health plans to drop uninsured HIV/AIDS patients

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The Florida Department of Health plans to drop about 350 uninsured HIV/AIDS patients from a federally funded program that pays for all or most of their drugs, because of a budget crisis.

Another 2,000 or more HIV-positive patients are at risk of being bumped from the drug subsidy program unless the state can close a $16 million shortfall in the next few months, officials said Tuesday.

“We are all pursuing every possible legal and financial option we can to make up the deficit,” said Tom Liberti, chief of the state’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS. “No one wants to disenroll one patient.”

In June, the shortfall forced the Health Department to put more than 2,300 patients so far on a waiting list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. About 1,100 live in South Florida and about 300 in Central Florida. The program also halted coverage for many drugs that infected people take for HIV-related complications.

Dropping patients saves about $10,000 per person per year, Liberti said.

Full story: Florida AIDS drug shortage: 350 patients in HIV/AIDS drug program to be dropped