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Massachusetts May Start ADAP Wait-List
  Associated Press
aug 8, 2004
Jennifer Peter
Due to rising drug prices and patient volume, the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services said it might have to start a waiting list for the AIDS medication assistance program that helps low-income patients not covered by Medicaid. The Department is asking the Legislature for an additional $2.4 million to prevent a reduction in program services and coverage.
"It is our hope that the Legislature will act on our request for additional funding. Otherwise, we'd have to move to a wait list for services, which we're hoping to avoid," said HHS spokesperson Donna Rheaume. The program's current funding is $14 million, with $12 million from the federal government, whose contribution has remained constant for several years.
As a cost-saving measure, the state last year decreased the drug assistance program eligibility threshold from 200 percent of the poverty level to 133 percent of the poverty level. For the current fiscal year, the Legislature restored the threshold to 200 percent. A slight increase in the HIV infection rate and rising drug costs are constraining the program.
Over the past two years, the program's caseload has more than doubled, from 1,538 patients on July 1, 2002 to 3,224 patients on July 1, 2004. HHS anticipates the maximum caseload of 3,385 patients to be reached in mid-September. Any additional patients would create a deficit for the fiscal year ending June 2005.
The Legislature's formal session for the year has ended, but the body is scheduled to approve a supplemental budget for the fiscal year this month. Approval during an informal session would require unanimous support of those present.
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