A contract dispute between city officials in Norfolk, Va., and doctors from the Eastern Virginia Medical School's AIDS clinic network over the network's billing practices and its relatively high cost for services has resulted in the revocation of federal Ryan White funds to the clinics, putting care services for HIV-positive people in immediate jeopardy, The Virginian-Pilot reports. City officials say the network uses a billing method through which doctors receive a set fee for each patient, a practice not allowed under federal regulations. As a result, city officials pulled federal funding from the clinics.
Clinic staff on Monday informed the network's nearly 1,200 HIV/AIDS patients that care may no longer be available after April 11. AIDS activists are worried that the clinics' patients will not be able to receive adequate HIV/AIDS care at other area agencies because the network has the only infectious disease specialists on staff at any area service provider.
The Greater Hampton Roads HIV Health Services Planning Council met Thursday night to discuss the issue. About 25 clinic patients attended the meeting to voice their concerns about possible disruptions in access to and quality of AIDS care. Norfolk officials said that they are still trying to negotiate with the clinic network to resolve the issue.