Amida Care Applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo for Visionary Stewardship Toward a Healthier New York and Pragmatic Leadership to End the AIDS Epidemic
November 1 2015
“Amida Care applauds Governor Cuomo’s pledge to seek new funding for housing and health care programs for people living with HIV/AIDS,” says Doug Wirth, President and CEO of Amida Care, who served on the Governor’s Task Force to End the AIDS Epidemic in New York by 2020. “Amida Care knows firsthand how eliminating barriers to care, such as food insecurity and unstable housing, leads to life-saving health outcomes and significant cost savings.” As a former homeless shelter director, Wirth explains, “Housing is health care – a key component of every individual’s plan for a healthier life and a public health cornerstone for achieving undetectable viral loads that contributes to community health.”
Governor Cuomo made his announcement at a World AIDS Day event at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his commitment of $23 million a year to combat HIV/AIDS and expand access to pre-exposure prophylaxsis (PrEP), which prevents HIV infection, and anti-retroviral therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS. Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson of the New York City Council also highlighted their recent announcement of $6.6 million in funding for HIV prevention.
“As we mark World AIDS Day 2015, we wholeheartedly commend Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and the City Council for their commitments to secure much-needed additional funding to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS, help our most vulnerable populations to improve their health, housing security, and quality of life, and set an example for the rest of the nation. We ask the State Legislature to join in this,” said Dr. Jerry Ernst, Chief Medical Officer of Amida Care.
Amida Care is one of five Medicaid managed care plans selected to participate in Governor Cuomo’s new $2.5 million pilot program to bring 6,000 HIV positive patients into care and provide support to achieve viral suppression. “Amida Care was established to provide a specialized, coordinated model of care to people living with HIV/AIDS to ensure that they receive the expert care they need. We are currently approaching a 75% viral suppression rate among our HIV-positive members,” Wirth explained. “We thank the Governor for including us in this pilot program that will enable us to reach more people living with HIV/AIDS so that they benefit from this care model.”
Amida Care is part of the End AIDS 2020 coalition of over 60 AIDS service and community-based organizations, medical providers, and elected officials that co-sponsored the World AIDS Day event at the Apollo.