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Nevada lawmakers split over ADAP funding

Nevada lawmakers split over ADAP funding

Nevada senate Republicans on a legislative budget panel refused to immediately add funds to Nevada's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which currently serves 881 HIV-positive people. However, assembly members on the joint budget subcommittee approved $742,000 in new funding to help serve 103 additional patients over the next two fiscal years. Although state health officials said the number of people qualifying for the program is growing, Gov. Kenny Guinn did not recommend increasing funds over the $1.35 million approved for the current two-year budget cycle closing June 30. The state's ADAP serves HIV patients who earn up to four times the federal poverty level. Health division officials estimate the program will have 48 people on a waiting list next year and 131 on a waiting list in 2006 if funding remains frozen over the next two years. The legislature's fiscal division came up with a slightly lower estimate using updated medication cost numbers. Some senators said they would rather wait to find out how much the program needs and how long the waiting list is before allocating more money and that health officials could appeal, as necessary, to the lawmakers' interim finance committee. Assembly members voted for the $742,000 in additional funds after assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, a Democrat, said the interim finance process wastes time and HIV patients should not have to wait for their medications. ADAP has been added to a list of issues that senate and assembly budget panels will have to resolve by May 26, the deadline for clearing up budget differences between the houses. (AP)

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