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Illinois News

AFC leads Illinois for sound HIV/AIDS policy, working on issues such as funding for AIDS services, HIV prevention, increased access to housing, comprehensive sexual health education, and much more. This is your source for information on legislative updates and advocacy.

To learn more and find out how you can get involved in advocacy for funding and other issues, join AFC’s advocacy network.

 


 

Update: AFC on Medicaid plan to address HIV PDF Print
Monday, April 07, 2014
Updated comments from AFC president/CEO on Medicaid plan to address HIV
 
New comments from interim President/CEO John Peller on a new Medicaid plan advanced by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn were released on March 10. This plan will include an HIV-specific provision that will improve care for people living with HIV.
 
This provision was included in response to concerted advocacy by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and its allies, including State Reps. Greg Harris, La Shawn Ford, and Sara Feigenholtz.
 
The provision is included in a proposed 1115 waiver developed by Governor Quinn and his team. The proposal, which must be approved by the federal government, would allow the state to make changes to the Medicaid program. The goal is to obtain additional federal funding for health and social services, improve care coordination, boost the health care workforce, enhance supports for people living in the community, and improve population health.
 
The waiver was open for several rounds of public comments in which 85 organizations submitted nearly a thousand comments or recommendations. AFC previously submitted two sets of comments; a third set released on March 10 can be reviewed here. 
 
 
 
Read more...



Governor Quinn’s Budget Supports Vital HIV/AIDS Services PDF Print
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Media contact: Edward Wagner                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Governor Quinn’s Budget Supports Vital HIV/AIDS Services

AFC Applauds Governor Quinn’s Proposed Budget

SPRINGFIELD --Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed a $34.4 billion state budget on Wednesday, March 26 that would continue current funding HIV/AIDS services at $25 million for state fiscal year (FY) 2015.

“We applaud Governor Quinn’s budget decision to allocate $25 million for HIV/AIDS services as a targeted investment that will help lower the burden and cost of HIV in Illinois. The Governor’s budget makes the right choices for generations to come,” said John Peller, Interim President/CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Governor Quinn’s proposed funding amount relies on the extension of the state income tax increase that was enacted in 2011. If the income tax increase is not extended by the General Assembly, HIV funding will be cut by $4 million, a 14% cut from FY 14, according to the Governor’s projection. This potential $4 million cut would amount to a 30% funding cut to HIV/AIDS services since FY 11, when total funding was $30.88 million. Governor Quinn has proposed extending the tax increase, which will help sustain critical HIV/AIDS services.

Read more...



Cost of HIV Medications in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace PDF Print
Thursday, March 20, 2014

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The Illinois health insurance marketplace open enrollment deadline approaching on Monday, March 31, and it is crucial that people living with HIV/AIDS have complete information to choose a marketplace plan.

Today the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is releasing information on HIV medication coverage for each marketplace plan giving examples of what a person with HIV might pay for HIV medications.

If you qualify for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), and choose a plan that is compatible with ADAP, ADAP will cover premiums and any out-of-pocket costs for HIV medications.

AFC’s drug coverage guide shows that without help from the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), many people with HIV would be unable to obtain life-saving medications. While two insurance companies have affordable medication co-pays, the remaining four companies feature out-of-pocket costs of as much as $2,000 a month for an HIV medication regimen. ADAP can help people with HIV by covering these out-of-pocket costs.

Finding the right plan that’s compatible with ADAP can be complicated, but our trained navigators can help! You can contact AFC's health insurance navigators at 312-784-9060 ext. 350 for assistance.

With the deadline fast approaching, we encourage you to act fast and seek the help you need to choose the best plan available in the marketplace before the deadline on Monday, March 31.

P.S. Our navigators can help anyone find health insurance, even if they aren’t living with HIV. If you have questions, call us at 312-784-9060 ext. 350.

Download the guide.




Medicaid Plan to Address HIV PDF Print
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Note: Story updated with March 10 comments

In a significant victory for HIV advocates, a new Medicaid plan advanced by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn plan will include a provision that will improve care for people living with HIV.

The HIV-specific provision — an HIV health home — was included after concerted advocacy by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and our allies, including State Reps. Greg Harris, La Shawn Ford, and Sara Feigenholtz.

The provision is included in a proposed 1115 waiver developed by Governor Quinn and his team. The proposal, which must be approved by the federal government, would allow the state to make changes to the Medicaid program. The goal is to obtain additional federal funding for health and social services, improve care coordination, boost the health care workforce, enhance supports for people living in the community, and improve population health.

The waiver was open for several rounds of public comments in which 85 organizations submitted nearly a thousand comments or recommendations. AFC submitted three sets of comments (see round 1, round 2, and round 3) and testimony.

While early drafts did not mention HIV, the state finally accepted AFC's recommendation to include a health home for people with HIV. HIV health homes would provide enhanced funding to provide patient-centered medical care for people living with HIV that is comprehensive, coordinated, accessible, and committed to quality and safety.

The state proposed significant funding ($50 million a year) for the new program, which would also include people with chronic diseases. Other states, including Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin and New York, are implementing health home programs for people with HIV.

After a comment period that ends March 10, the federal government will review the waiver proposal and the state and federal government will negotiate changes. It could take up to two years for the waiver to be finalized, so AFC is committed leading continued advocacy on this issue.

Click here for the waiver text on HIV health homes and budget chart, and follow the progression of the 1115 waiver here.

 

Read more...



Medicaid Managed Care is Coming - What You Need to Know to be Ready Webinar PDF Print
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Get up to speed on changes to the Illinois Medicaid program by registering for a webinar on the new Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) initiatives.

This webinar will focus on the Integrated Care Program (ICP), which impacts seniors and people with disabilities who are currently on Medicaid. Among others, this program affects people who receive home and community-based services as a part of the AIDS Waiver program. 

Presenters: Stephanie Altman, Shriver Center; Jessie Beebe and John Peller, AFC; Justin Hayford, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago.

Each webinar will cover the same material, so please choose only one!

Wednesday, February 19, noon – 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 25, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, February 27, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Knowledge is Power - Register Today!

Below are links to resources mentioned in the webinar:
Webinar slides (PDF)

Additional resources:
Medicaid managed care toolkit (web link)
My Healthcare Team worksheet (PDF)
Heath Care Reform Education and Enrollment Resources (PDF)
Health Plan Choices (PDF)
ICP Brochure (PDF)
ICP First Letter (PDF)
ICP Second Letter (PDF)
ICP Reminder Letter (PDF)
ICP Tip Sheet (PDF)

Please share these documents with colleagues and clients!

Our next series for case managers is in March. Details are below – register today!

March series:  Medicare/Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative (MMAI)
The Medicare/Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative (MMAI) impacts people who have both Medicaid and Medicare coverage (dual eligibles).  The program will require that members enroll in a managed care plan and will change the way clients access services.  Enrollment for MMAI begins March 2014.

Presenters:
Erin Weir or Alicia Donegan, Age Options
Jessie Beebe and John Peller, AFC
Justin Hayford, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago.

Dates (remember, just choose one!):
Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, March 18, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 20, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Reserve your spot!

 




Comments on the Draft Medicaid 1115 Waiver PDF Print
Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) submitted comments January 22, 2014, in response to the state’s Draft 1115 Waiver Application.  In the comments, AFC urges the state to prioritize case management for people with HIV, leverage the Medicaid Health Home state plan option to improve care for people with HIV, and institute financial incentives for HMOs to improve care provided to people with HIV.  AFC also remarks on home and community based care waiver consolidation and supportive housing. 

Comments on the Draft Medicaid 1115 Waiver




HIV Health Summit Kicks off 2014! PDF Print
Monday, February 03, 2014

HIV Health Summit LogoOn January 27, 2014 the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) hosted its first HIV Health Summit to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders, such as HIV/AIDS providers, community members, Medicaid managed care organizations, government officials, and legislators to discuss the opportunities, changes and challenges the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid managed care will bring people living with or at risk for HIV in Illinois. Despite chilly temperatures in Chicago the day of the Summit, the room was filled with community members and passionate voices illustrating the keen interest in this issue.

The Summit allowed HIV service providers and community members to have an open discussion with panelists who represented various organizations in Illinois responsible for coordinating ACA implementation in our state. Representatives from Governor Quinn’s office, Medicaid managed care organizations, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago Department of Public Health, Cook County Health & Hospitals System, and legislators were among the many panelists engaging in discussions with attendees about topics that ranged from HIV care coordination to cultural competency, the Ryan White program as a public health intervention, and ensuring funding for HIV care services in 2015.

The HIV Health Summit provided the opportunity for one of many group discussions as we all work to facilitate the changes and opportunities the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid managed care will bring to our state.

See the full agenda and list of panelists here.

See pictures from the HIV Health Summit here.


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Illinois Cascade of Engagement in HIV Care PDF Print
Monday, January 06, 2014

At the Illinois HIV Planning Group meeting held December 2013, the Illinois Department of Public Heath's Dr. Fangchao Ma presented data about Illinois and the HIV continuum of care.  Information includes percentages of people living with HIV who know their status, are engaged in care, and have a suppressed viral load.  The presentation also offers a comparison to national rates.

 

View the presentation (PDF)




Munar: Illinois Medicaid Must Harness Existing Infrastructure to Turn Tide on AIDS Epidemic PDF Print
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

AIDS Foundation of Chicago President and CEO David Ernesto Munar testified on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 before the Illinois House Human Services Appropriations Committee on the state’s proposed Medicaid 1115 waiver.  The proposal – outlined in this concept paper released in November 2013 – would allow the state to obtain federal Medicaid matching funds for a wider range of health care activities than allowed under the existing program.

Munar said in his testimony that to turn the tide on the AIDS epidemic, the state must harness the existing HIV service infrastructure built over the last three decades with an over $1 billion investment in state and federal funds.  By 2017, thanks to the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, over half the people with HIV in Illinois will be covered by Medicaid, making it the largest single payer of HIV care in the state.

Read the full testimony here .




Comments on the “Path to Transformation” 1115 Waiver Concept Paper PDF Print
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

HIV infection can be managed as a chronic disease if people with HIV have access to high-quality, culturally-competent medical care and supportive social services. Providing this optimal care leads to long- and short-term cost containment as well as improved quality of life and prognosis for the patient, helping to meet the Triple Aim. There are an estimated 42,500 people living with HIV in Illinois, and about 1,760 people are newly reported as diagnosed with HIV each year in the state. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, 12,734 people with HIV were on Medicaid in 2011.2 AFC estimates that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, an additional 11,400 people will become newly enrolled in Medicaid in Illinois by 2017, raising the number of people with HIV on Medicaid to over 24,100.

Read AFC’s comments on the “Path to Transformation” 1115 Waiver Concept Paper.




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