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Howard Brown Health Center Thanks Governor Quinn for Saving Medicaid
Will work closely with officials to iron out details of reforms to State’s largest healthcare program
CHICAGO, Ill (June 13, 2012) – Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) commends Gov. Pat Quinn for pushing for Medicaid budget reform. When Gov. Quinn delivered his budget address to the General Assembly on Feb. 2, 2012 he stated that he was there to deliver the painful truth, and declared, "It is vitally important that we restructure Medicaid, so that it’s always there for our neighbors who need it." HBHC agrees with this sentiment, and while reforms contained in the legislation the Governor signed today include some difficult choices, HBHC recognizes that something had to be done to save many key programs and services on which countless Illinois residents depend. Particularly, those People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) stand to be most affected, of which many are our patients and clients.
With much work still to be done to implement the details, HBHC will work closely with Director Julie Hamos and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS), Gov. Quinn and the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to ensure that our patients’ and clients’ needs are addressed.
The Save Medicaid Access and Resource Together (SMART) Act (Senate Bill 2840), which the Governor insisted on being passed by the General Assembly, was the product of months of negotiation and compromise by him and legislative leaders. "We want to thank Gov. Quinn for recognizing early that Medicaid was in great need of reform, and for his support in restructuring Medicaid in a way that identifies the many different aspects that the program saves people’s lives," says Howard Brown Health Center’s President and CEO Jamal M. Edwards, Esq. "We are going to continue to work closely with State agencies, most notably the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) under the leadership of Director Julie Hamos, on implementing the details of a new and improved Medicaid program."
Howard Brown Health Center is highly concerned about having to obtain the State’s prior approval before prescribing certain highly effective HIV medications that have been proven to promote adherence among HIV patients and decrease transmission of the virus. Moreover, the current prior approval process is complicated and needs similar reform in consideration of the complications that those with HIV/AIDS face.
HBHC recognizes that there will be changes for some of our Medicaid patients and will work closely with the DHFS so that our patients’ care will not be interrupted. "Failure to act and do nothing to salvage Illinois’ Medicaid program would have crippled our State’s healthcare system," said Clint W. Sabin, HBHC’s senior director, Public Policy and Advocacy.
In addition to requiring prior-approval for certain HIV medications, the Illinois Cares RX program has also been eliminated, which will place added pressure on other already under-funded programs for HIV and other important medications for the senior citizen population. As HIV becomes a more manageable disease, patients are living longer, requiring further resources to manage the challenges they face. HBHC will also work with DHFS on solutions to address these new challenges in consideration of budget cuts resulting in seniors not only losing their HIV medications, but other medications as well.
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About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves more than 36,000 adults and youth each year throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.