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Homearrow News and Events Year 2010 Concern surfaces about HIV/AIDS funding program - FOX 8 News WVUE-TV

Concern surfaces about HIV/AIDS funding program - FOX 8 News WVUE-TV


There's a concern about how the city is handing out millions of dollars in federal money to help people living with HIV and AIDS.

Some of the service organizations that have been providing help to hundreds of patients are now facing budget cuts.

Sources tell FOX 8 that as many as 250 HIV/AIDS patients are being transferred from two services providers in New Orleans to other clinics. Patients are already complaining.

David Munroe is the former chair of the Regional AIDS Planning Council.

Munroe says, "Some of these folks are homeless. Some were substance abusers, so we've beat the pavement to get them into care. There's always a risk that as you pull that comfort zone away from them, that they'll fall out of care."

Munroe says the City's Office of Health Policy is proposing the cuts.

He says, " I had some calls from panic people that said that both Great Expectations and NR Peace had been cut from case management."

According to our partners at 'The Lens', the Director of Health Policy, Fran Lawless, has admitted there are proposed cuts but has not said which agencies will be affected.

Munroe says cutting Great Expectations and NR Peace would be devastating to hundreds of patients.

The two organizations were receiving funding through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS federal program. Munroe is extremely concerned about how the city is handing out those millions of dollars.

. The recommendation of which agencies receive money is supposed to be made by the City's Office of Health Policy. The Regional AIDS Planning Council's duty is only to prioritize the services needed, but Munroe says the Council has been reviewing RFP's.

It turns out, some of the planning council's staff also work at and in some cases operate organizations that stand to benefit from the Ryan White funds.

Munroe filed a grievance last month with the planning council saying the council's contract review practices violate federal rules.

He says, " There's a clear distinction. HERSA, which is the federal entity under the federal level, clearly says the council should have no part in the percurment process."

Munroe received a letter, from Sam Ashley, the current chair of the Planning Council. In the letter, Ashley states any individual involved in the review of proposals is not involved in the selection.

One of the providers that received funding for 2010 is Priority health care. The organizations Executive Director is Tamara Hagan. Hagan is the former director of Great Expectations and chair of the Planning Council's Service Delivery Committee.

It's still unclear if Hagan reviewed or read any RFP's involving that contract.

FOX 8 worked on this story with our investigative partners at 'The Lens'.

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