There is help on the way for low-income Floridians living with HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Institute recognized Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature for increasing state funding to the Florida AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) as part of the 2012 state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
This marks a needed improvement in public health care. In Orange County alone, approximately 1,800 low-income citizens are able to receive life-saving treatment due to this program. The program in Florida currently serves about 12,000 people.
In part because of increased federal dollars the wait list for this life saving program decreased from over 4,000 to 427. The $2.5 million in recurring state general revenue funds for Florida ADAP should help reduce the current wait list even more and at the same time help meet the continued increase in new patients entering the program every month.
It should be noted that from a pure cost/benefit standpoint, ADAP provides significant savings to the state. This is achieved by saving Florida millions more than it contributes because it keeps patients on their medications and off Medicaid. ADAP patients can remain in Florida’s workforce and stay healthier. They are also hospitalized less often.
Michael Ruppal, Executive Director the The AIDS Institute, commented “This is an extraordinary step forward for the healthcare of Floridians living with HIV who do not have the means to pay for medications to keep them healthy and alive.”
ADAP is funded by state and federal funds, and by rebates provided by pharmaceutical companies. HIV drug regimens can cost upwards of $16,000 a year. Kudos to Rick Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the value of this program.