BATON ROUGE, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which is in the midst of a dispute with Baton Rouge over the equitable awarding of federal HIV/AIDS service funds, was dismayed by claims that the parish is not entering into new contracts for any services, and is withholding payments for services provided by all nonprofit groups, pending the outcome of this dispute. AHF is concerned that this may disrupt needed services, and will offer affected groups no interest loans to prevent any gaps in these critical services.
This apparent decision comes on the heels of a lawsuit initiated by AHF that claims that Baton Rouge unlawfully and arbitrarily discriminated in the awarding of contracts for some AIDS services, which are paid for by the federal government through the Ryan White CARE Act.
“AHF has a right, like any other group or person, to go to court to challenge government practices that it thinks are unlawful, and the principle of fair and open public contracting and spending of tax dollars is vital, especially for ending this epidemic,” said AHF Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane. “However, this right can in no way be used as a reason or justification to stop funding for all services.”
AHF, which is the largest clinic provider in the East Baton Rouge parish, services over 1,500 patients at our two locations, most of whom are HIV positive. The contract awards at issue involve contracts for eight different services for people with HIV/AIDS. AHF asserts that Baton Rouge abused its authority in the awarding of contracts for only three of those eight services.
“It is very easy for Baton Rouge to get to a resolution of our dispute without disrupting services or withholding payments for the entire range of services people with HIV/AIDS need. At a minimum, the parish can simply extend existing contracts, and maintain the status quo, for ninety days,” continued Kahane. AHF has taken all actions to get the case decided as quickly as possible.
According to the most recent statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health HIV/AIDS Surveillance, the Baton Rouge metropolitan area ranked 2nd for AIDS case rates among the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.
If Baton Rouge fails to ensure that services are not disrupted, AHF has announced that it will offer groups that may be adversely affected no interest loans during this time. “All AHF wants is to ensure that government operations are open and fair. People with HIV/AIDS should not have to suffer because of this,” said Kahane.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 605,000 individuals in 35 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.