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100 AIDS Advocates to Protest FL Gov. Rick Scott -- Miami Freedom Tower TODAY (Fri., Aug. 10) @ 1:30pm

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Governor Rick Scott Denies Healthcare Coverage to Hispanic/Latino
Americans and Other Vulnerable Populations Living with HIV/AIDS in the
Epicenter of the Nations HIV/AIDS Epidemic.

Approximately 100 HIV/AIDS Advocates call out the recent denial of a
Medicaid managed healthcare plan that addresses the critical,
life-saving medical needs of Hispanic/Latino's and other vulnerable
populations living with HIV/AIDS in Florida, the epicenter of the
nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic
.

Approximately 100 HIV/AIDS advocates from across south Florida will join
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF),
the world's largest, non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization, today at
1:30pm in front of the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL
33132, to protest against Governor Rick Scott's denial of a Medicaid
managed healthcare plan that provides critical coverage to
Hispanic/Latinos and other vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS
in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, the epicenter of the nation's
HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since 1999, the plan, managed by Positive Healthcare
(PHC), which is administered by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has provided
for the sensitive medical needs of over 2,000 individuals in Florida,
living with HIV/AIDS.

In late April, Florida Medicaid officials announced the awarding of
Medicaid contracts, worth up to $90 billion dollars, to five for-profit
managed care plans, excluding several other companies, including
Positive Healthcare (PHC), the only non-profit healthcare provider that
offers insurance coverage for the critical, sensitive healthcare needs
of those living with HIV. As a result of the initial decision, several
of the denied agencies, including PHC, filed formal protests with
Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA), which manages the
state's Medicaid program, all challenging the state's decision, citing
severe defects in the RFP and decision making process. Following the
submitted protests, state Medicaid officials met with each of the denied
agencies, and subsequently have provided settlements with a select list
of the for-profit providers, while continuing to shut out PHC, the only
non-profit agency whose focus is on providing care to thousands of
clients living with HIV in Florida, that have relied on this critical
coverage to get the necessary care they need, by the doctors of their
choice, to live a healthy life.

"As the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in this country, it is deplorable that
Governor Scott is playing with the lives of the Hispanic/Latino
communities and other vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS in
Florida," stated Michael Kahane, AHF Southern Bureau Chief. "Rick Scott
has not been transparent with this community or anyone that he was
elected to serve, on what he is doing to address this epidemic that has
exploded under his watch. If he truly cares about the Hispanic/Latino
community or anyone dealing with healthcare challenges, we implore him
to put people over politics and let Hispanic/Latinos and all people
choose who to provide their healthcare, as one choice is no choice."

While Scott and his cronies continue to play "business as usual"
politics, the 2,000 HIV patients, living in Miami-Dade and Broward
counties, currently covered by PHC have become vulnerable to maintaining
the care they critically need to stay alive, as they will be forced to
choose for-profit companies that don't cover the doctors they have come
to rely on and trust for over a decade of quality, life-saving care. As
well, the rate of new HIV/AIDS diagnosis continues to increase across
the state, with Hispanics and Latinos being disproportionately impacted.
AHF and the numerous community supporters across the region that have
come out in support of PHC, implore Governor Scott to understand that
one choice is no choice and to put people first and not big for-profit
businesses and give this vulnerable population a choice.

Coinciding with today's protest, AHF is also running radio ads on local
Miami and Orlando stations to bring awareness to the Hispanic/Latino
community of the devastating impact of Rick Scott's actions of denying
them and other vulnerable populations the choice for healthcare that can
be life-saving for those within their community living with HIV/AIDS.
Stations currently running the awareness spots are:

               
Market             Station
Orlando             WRUM-FM
Orlando WURF-AM
Orlando WONQ-AM
Miami             WAMR-FM

WHAT:

 

Protest against Governor Rick Scott's denial of healthcare
coverage to those living with HIV/AIDS, impacting over 2,000
individuals living in South Florida

 

WHO:

Close to 100 HIV/AIDS activists from across south Florida

 

WHEN:

TODAY, Friday, August 10, 2018 – 1:30pm

 

WHERE:

In front of the Freedom Tower – 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC):

HIV and Hispanics/Latinos:

  • Hispanics/Latinos account for about one quarter of all new
    diagnoses of HIV in the United States, despite representing about 18%
    of the total US population;
  • The rate of new HIV infections per 100,000 among Latino
    adults/adolescents was the 2nd highest of any racial/ethnic group in
    the U.S., over 3 times that of their white counterparts;
  • An estimated 235,600 Hispanics/Latinos were living with HIV in the
    United States. Of these, an estimated 17% were living with undiagnosed
    HIV;
  • Miami ranks with 2 other major U.S. metropolitan areas (New York
    and Los Angeles) had the greatest numbers of Latinos living with an
    HIV diagnosis; and
  • In Florida, the rate of Hispanic/Latino males living with an HIV
    diagnosis is 1.9 times that of White males,
    the rate of
    Hispanic/Latina females living with an HIV diagnosis is 2.5 times that
    of White females.

HIV/AIDS in Florida:

  • In Orlando, the rate of Hispanic/Latino males living with an HIV
    diagnosis is 1.8 times that of White males, the rate of
    Hispanic/Latina females living with an HIV diagnosis is 4.8 times that
    of White females;
  • Florida ranked 1st among the 50 states in the number of HIV
    diagnoses;
  • There are approximately 26,110 people living with HIV in Miami,
    Florida;
  • Three Florida cities, made the top 15 cities nationally, when it
    comes to number of people with HIV. Miami is at the top of the list,
    with Jacksonville and Orlando at the tenth and 11th spots,
    respectively;
  • Miami-Dade and Broward counties ranked top in the nation of new HIV
    diagnosis;
  • Close to 60% of new HIV diagnosis in Miami are Hispanic/Latinos

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization,
currently provides medical care and/or services to over 940,000
individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

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