Medical group ends contract with Baltimore agency
Baltimore's branch of the national organization Health Care for the Homeless, which was contracted to provide two doctors and a nurse practitioner to the city's Health Education Resource Organization to help treat HIV-positive patients, announced it will not renew its contract with HERO, The[Baltimore] Sun reports. The current contract expires this week, but HCH officials say they will help at the agency for the next two to three weeks to assign the HIV patients to other caregivers. As many as 100 HERO clients could be forced to seek HIV care elsewhere. HCH president and CEO Jeff Singer said the contract wasn't renewed because it was too complicated to treat HIV patients both at HERO's location and HCH's headquarters. He also said discussions about terminating the contract began before HERO executive director Leonardo Ortega was alleged to have misused agency funds in order to hire a personal trainer and give himself several thousand dollars in bonuses. The city's health department has asked the FBI to investigate HERO and Ortega because the agency receives $1.4 million in federal funds annually to provide service to low-income people with HIV.