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Connolly, Beyer, Wexton Send Letter To Protect Northern Virginia HIV/AIDS Funding

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Washington, January 24, 2019 | comments

Virginia Representatives Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton sent a letter to Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser today opposing a plan by the D.C. Health Department to unilaterally end a 28-year agreement for the administration of HIV/AIDS funding. Pursuant to the agreement, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) has administered Part A funding from the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act.

“We write to express our profound concerns regarding a proposal from the District of Columbia to upend the administration of Ryan White Part A funding in our region, which we believe could harm care and services for HIV-positive residents of Northern Virginia,” the members wrote. “We urge you to pursue a collaborative approach that accommodates the needs and input of Northern Virginia stakeholders.”

“We believe the unilateral decision by the District of Columbia to terminate its relationship with NVRC is not in keeping with the letter or intent of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (P.L. 101-381),” the members added. “Given the statutory requirements of the Ryan White CARE Act and NVRC’s commitment to delivering quality care for HIV/AIDS patients, we request that you reverse the decision to unilaterally end this longstanding arrangement by which Ryan White funding and services are provided to Northern Virginia residents.”

NVRC Commissioners previously sent a letter to the Mayor in opposition to the proposal from the D.C. Health Department. The Commissioners stated in their letter “sincere and profound concern regarding a proposed action by the District of Columbia that will have a significant negative impact on the health outcomes of more than 2,000 residents of our region and Virginia who are served by the Ryan White Part A program as HIV/AIDS-affected individuals and families.”

The Representatives’ letter is available here and text follows.

January 24, 2019

 

The Honorable Muriel Bowser

Executive Office of the Mayor

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20004

 

Dear Mayor Bowser,

We write to express our profound concerns regarding a proposal from the District of Columbia to upend the administration of Ryan White Part A funding in our region, which we believe could harm care and services for HIV-positive residents of Northern Virginia. We urge you to pursue a collaborative approach that accommodates the needs and input of Northern Virginia stakeholders.

On Tuesday, November 27, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) was informed by the District of Columbia Department of Health that the City plans to end its 28-year agreement with NVRC to serve as the local regional administrator of the Ryan White Part A program in Northern Virginia. The NVRC program serves 2,000 individuals with HIV each year and routinely achieves better client outcomes for viral load suppression and percentage of clients taking AIDS medication than the broader metropolitan region.

In 2008, the Whitman-Walker Clinic made a similar decision to close its Arlington location for AIDS treatment and support services. While that was an action taken by a private entity, it was comparable to this latest proposal in that it too was made without consultation with Northern Virginia partners and was carried out to the detriment of our constituents living with HIV/AIDS

We believe the unilateral decision by the District of Columbia to terminate its relationship with NVRC is not in keeping with the letter or intent of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (P.L. 101-381). This arrangement has been in place for 28 years, and NVRC has successfully administered care for 2.4 million residents of our region, including managing more than $150 million in health care services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured Northern Virginians with HIV/AIDS. 

Given the statutory requirements of the Ryan White CARE Act and NVRC’s commitment to delivering quality care for HIV/AIDS patients, we request that you reverse the decision to unilaterally end this longstanding arrangement by which Ryan White funding and services are provided to Northern Virginia residents.

We respectfully request that the District of Columbia engage in a collaborative process with NVRC and the local governments of Northern Virginia to determine a consensus path forward that considers first and foremost the care of our constituents with HIV/AIDS.

Sincerely,  

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