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Indiana AIDS agency may close

Indiana AIDS agency may close

The Indiana State Department of Health has decided not to renew a $90,000 patient care coordination grant for AIDS Task Force of Southeast Central Indiana, a move that could force the agency, which serves 10 counties, to close by June. Health officials said they pulled the funding because they had lost confidence in ATFSCI's ability to serve its 67 clients. The Richmond, Ind., police department had been investigating the possible theft or mismanagement of task force funds since April, after ATFSCI executive director Bill Selkirk left the agency with about half its board of directors. But the inquiry ended because officials found nothing criminal, said Det. Sgt. Brad Berner. In addition to the patient care grant, state officials will discontinue a $142,500 grant for HIV counseling, testing, and education. The $232,500 funding shortfall is more than two thirds of ATFSCI's annual $300,000 budget. Although ATFSCI is expected to close in June, board president Otis Broglin vowed to fight "to keep digging up funds to take care of our patients." Organizers are going ahead with the agency's fund-raiser, set for July 3, at the Richmond Municipal Airport, he said. And he said he is considering asking state officials to look into the misappropriation allegations. The grant was not renewed because the state "needed to ensure that services were being delivered to the clients we have identified," said Michael Butler, director of the state health department's HIV/STD division. "We just didn't have the confidence the agency was going to deliver the services they were to provide in a manner that was consistent with our contractual agreement." ATFSCI's 10-county service area is located in east-central and southeastern Indiana. (AP)

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