Doug Wirth has served as President and CEO of Amida Care since 2006. Under his tenure, Amida Care’s successful care model, designed to deliver specialized care to people needing intensive services, has empowered thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV to take control of their health and get about the business of living their lives. Amida Care has grown to become the largest Medicaid managed care Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) in New York, with over $500 million in annual premiums and 8,000 members throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including people living with HIV/AIDS and specific populations placed at higher risk for acquiring HIV (people of transgender experience, who represent 15 percent of Amida Care’s membership, and people experiencing homelessness).
Through Wirth’s leadership, Amida Care’s innovative model of care has yielded impressive health outcomes that have improved the quality of health care delivery, helped members get and stay healthy, and produced significant cost savings. These outcomes include an increase from 60 to 80 percent of Amida Care’s HIV-positive members being virally suppressed between 2006 and 2019, achieved by engaging 94% of members in regular outpatient care, which led to a 74% decrease in hospital admissions/readmissions, a 64% decrease in ER visits, and a 35% reduction in hospital length of stay. Over 1,200 HIV-positive persons have been cured of Hepatitis C. Taken together, these improvements resulted in Medicaid savings of more than $160 million to NY State between 2008 and 2018.
A long-time advocate for people living with HIV, in 2014 Wirth served on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Task Force to End the AIDS Epidemic (ETE) in New York State. He has continued to work in collaboration with the End AIDS 2020 Coalition on implementation of ETE Blueprint recommendations to increase access to HIV testing; treatment that improves the rate of viral load suppression; and uptake of effective prevention methods such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Wirth has served as a Senior Health Policy Advisor to NYC Mayors David Dinkins and Rudolph Giuliani, which included chairing the HIV Mental Health and Strategic Planning/Evaluation Committees for the NYC Health & Human Services Ryan White Planning Council, where his accomplishments included overseeing the community planning process that led to binding recommendations for $100 million in federal Ryan White funding. As Director of Government Relations for the Coalition of Community Mental Health Agencies, Wirth oversaw the community organizing effort that led to the closing of under-utilized state hospitals, which resulted in annual savings of $800 million and reduced the State’s capital expenditures by over $1 billion dollars. Unanimous State legislative approval resulted in $250 million of those savings going to community reinvestment in behavioral health services across New York State.
Wirth previously ran five homeless shelters in the Midwest, where he successfully co-located a meal/food pantry program with a work-readiness project, as well as a satellite primary care clinic, outpatient substance use programs and mobile HIV testing — all of which inform and guide the mission, goals, and operations of Amida Care.
Wirth has been recognized among City & State’s Health Power 100 (2020), Nonprofit Power 100 (2019), Pride Power 100 (2019), and Responsible 100 (2018), and has received numerous awards and honors including an award from Hudson River Health Care (2019) for his record as a health care advocate, the Association of Community Affiliated Plans Advantage Award, a “Choose Life” award from the National Black Leadership Commission on Health (2018), and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (2018). He has published numerous opinion pieces and has been quoted and interviewed in major media outlets in support of health care access and social justice issues that affect the populations Amida Care serves, including the LGBTQ community and people of color, in media such as the New York Times, Newsweek, Politico, Crain’s, the New York Daily News, The Hill, the Huff Post, and Gay City News.
Wirth is a senior faculty member of the American Psychological Associations’ HOPE Project where he trained healthcare professionals on HIV, LGBTQ and health equity issues across the country. Since 2019, he has served as co-chair of the New PRIDE Agenda (NPA), where he has energetically advanced the organization’s work advocating across New York State for LBGTQ rights awareness, particularly for the most vulnerable members of the queer community. Wirth also serves on the Board of RCHN Community Health Foundation, which supports the work of federally qualified community health centers and the communities they serve; the Board of Pride Center of Northeastern Wisconsin; and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) Pride Center Advisory Board in Green Bay, WI. Wirth has a BSW from UWGB and an MSW from Hunter College/CUNY.