As many as 200 current enrollees in Alabama's AIDS Drug Assistance Program could receive letters within the next few days telling them they've been cut from the program and placed on a waiting list unless state lawmakers approve more money for the cash-strapped ADAP, the Birmingham News reports. The legislature needs to allocate an extra $1 million to the program to maintain its current enrollment of 1,178 patients, according to state health officer Don Williamson. Because of budget shortfalls, Alabama's ADAP already has capped enrollment and has a waiting list of 525 low-income HIV-positive people seeking antiretroviral treatment. As many as 30 more people are added to the waiting list each month, according to Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama.
"Not only do we have the distinction of having the longest waiting list in the country, we are also poised to be the only state to kick people off the program," Hiers told the News.
State health officials previously thought 514 HIV-positive people would have to be cut from the program because of budget shortfalls, but the state health department diverted $1 million from other health programs and plans to redirect $250,000 normally provided for HIV case management and medical transportation services to keep ADAP enrollment cuts as low as possible. There was no report as to whether state lawmakers are expected to allocate the extra funds to the program before the clients are cut from its rolls.