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Florida officials
work to restore lost Ryan White funds

Florida officials
work to restore lost Ryan White funds

Lawmakers work to restore $1.2 million Ryan White funding that was cut from Palm Beach County.

Florida's federal lawmakers are working hard to restore $1.2 million in cuts to Palm Beach County's 2006 Ryan White CARE Act grant, saying the funding cut will cripple AIDS services in the area, the Palm Beach Post reports. Health officials in the county were told last week that because of shortcomings in the county's Ryan White grant application, its funding was reduced from the roughly $9.5 million received last year to about $8.2 million this year. The cuts will result in drastic reductions in AIDS services at county AIDS groups, including those offering case management, substance abuse treatment and counseling, transportation, and mental health services.

U.S. representatives Alcee Hastings and Robert Wexler, both Democrats, have written to U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Michael Leavitt, calling the cuts "completely unacceptable" and demanding more information as to why Palm Beach County received the second-highest percentage funding cut of any U.S. metro area. Rep. E. Clay Shaw, a Republication, wrote to Health Resources and Services Administration administrator Elizabeth Drake asking for details concerning the county's funding cut, while Rep. Mark Foley, also a Republican, has suggested the funding could be restored through an appeal or legislative action.

The county's HIV commission is scheduled to meet on April 4 to decide how to allocate the reduced funding for county AIDS groups. Health officials and lawmakers hope to have more answers before then as to why the cut was implemented and if it will be possible to restore some of the lost funds. (The Advocate)

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