It is quite understandable that many individuals affected by the HIV disease are unable to afford the necessary medications and treatments to keep their illness under control. Many health insurance companies will not cover these individuals, knowing how costly their care can be, or they may provide coverage but will exclude HIV-related care. To keep people with HIV/AIDS alive and healthy, the Ryan White Program was created to cover the expenses other health plans will not and provide access to treatment.
To use the Ryan White Program, you must have a limited amount of health insurance or none at all, or financial resources that are too low to pay for the cost of coping with HIV. Most of the funds receives by Ryan White are directed towards primary medical care and essential support services. Another portion of funds goes to technical assistance, clinical training, and research on innovative models of care. This can be a great outlet for those who do not have the means to pay for their HIV/AIDS treatment, if they live in a participating region.
Ryan White is divided into five separate programs to serve different regions and types of people. To understand how it works and where these services are available, it is helpful to look at the programs where Ryan White funding is directed. The following are the parts of Ryan White assistance for individuals with HIV/AIDS.
This part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 gives assistance to Eligible Metropolitan Areas (EMAs) and Transitional Grant Areas (TGAs) that are most highly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. EMAs are defined as an area with a minimum of 2,000 reported AIDS cases in the most recent five years, with a population of at least 50,000 residents. TGAs are identified by having 1,000 to 1,999 newly reported cases of AIDS in the past five years in a minimum population of 50,000.
EMAs and TGAs vary in size from one city or county to over 26 different political groups, and others include more than one state. These areas are designated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. If a region qualifies as either an EMA or TGA, Part A funds are applied towards a key number of services for people affected by HIV/AIDS in these areas, which include the following:
- Outpatient hospital and physician services
- AIDS drug assistance program
- AIDS pharmaceutical assistance
- Oral health
- Early intervention services
- Health insurance premium and cost sharing assistance for those with a low income
- Hospice services
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Home and community-based health care
- Mental health care
- Substance abuse outpatient treatment
- Case management for health care services, including treatment adherence services
This portion provides grants to states and U.S. Territories (District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) in order to increase the level of quality, access, and organization of medical and support services related to HIV/AIDS. Part B grants to a region includes a base grant, the AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP), funding for the ADAP Supplemental Drug Treatment Program, and additional grants to states with 500 to 999 total cases of AIDS diagnosed in the past five years. These areas are slightly less in need than the higher concentration regions of Part A, nonetheless, they are known as “emerging communities” to signify their need for coverage.
ADAP supplies individuals with the proper medications needed to treat the HIV disease. Part B funds may also be used towards buying health insurance for certain clients with a low income. This program also provides services that improve access to, adherence to, and monitoring of medications.
Part C directly funds health care providers such as ambulatory medical clinics to encourage outpatient HIV early intervention services and ambulatory care. Services provided by those who receive the grants include all types of early detection care, such as primary care, labs, X-ray, and other diagnostic testing, medical and dental equipment and supplies, case management, periodic health assessments, and clinical and diagnostic services regarding HIV/AIDS. More services are covered, as well, such as home health care, hospice services, health insurance premium and cost sharing assistance, and ADAP.
This program is designed for women, infants, children, and youth with the HIV illness. Providing family-oriented primary care and other medical services, Part D provides funds to public or private nonprofit organizations that administer outpatient care to HIV-positive women and children. This grant keeps these centers functioning and able to serve this specific population of individuals with HIV/AIDS through primary and specialist care, diagnostic testing, supplies, and family focused care such as child care and family advocacy.
Part F is identified as funds going towards Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS), which is responsible for creating new, innovative treatments for HIV, in order to react properly to emerging needs of Ryan White patients. By advancing knowledge and skills in the delivery of health and support services, underserved populations can have access to HIV treatment sooner. Their research specifically targets high risk populations, Hepatitis C treatment, care for African-American women, and more categories needing attention. This program enables all who receive care through Ryan White programs to be equally addressed to the fullest potential.