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IDPH slammed for not spending $10 million in appropriated HIV funding

Friday, Feb 9, 2018

* Press release

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is deeply concerned by the Rauner Administration’s unilateral decision to not spend $9.7 million in approved HIV funding that was appropriated by the Illinois state legislature in FY 18, without any public disclosure or notification of this decision. In its response to a recent Freedom of Information Act request filed by AFC, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed that the department only spent $15.7 million of the approved $25.4 million of funds for HIV services.

Read the state’s response to AFC’s Freedom of Information Act request

Read selected pages of Illinois’ FY 18 budget

“AFC is alarmed that the provision of lifesaving resources has been frozen by bureaucrats and that such a vital decision impacting vulnerable Illinoisans has been made without any transparency,” explained John Peller, AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s president and CEO. “Have other budget priorities appropriated by the legislature been underfunded to such a significant degree? Or was HIV spending singled out for a 38 percent spending cut?”

“Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly worked in a bipartisan manner to intentionally increase HIV funds during an exceptionally tough budget year,” Peller continued. “The Rauner Administration appears to have ignored the spending priorities of their own party members.”

These vital funds should have been distributed to strengthen the existing foundation of HIV prevention, health care and housing services in Illinois. AFC demands that Gov. Rauner release the remaining $9.7 million in HIV funding, and we implore members of the General Assembly to investigate why these critical resources were not deployed to combat the HIV epidemic in Illinois. The state’s FY 19 budget is due to be released by the governor on Wednesday, Feb. 14; it is imperative that this investigation take place ahead of that budget’s implementation.

Illinois is already making great strides in HIV prevention; new HIV cases have dropped statewide by 28 percent from 2006-2015. In fact, the state is at a pivotal moment in the HIV epidemic, when the technology, knowledge and policies are in place to dramatically impact the course of the epidemic. Ironically, IDPH has fully embraced the goal of the statewide Getting to Zero Illinois project, which would eliminate new cases of HIV in the state by 2027, but expanded funding for treatment, prevention and supportive services are still needed to achieve that goal. Nearly 1,400 people are diagnosed with HIV every year in Illinois, most of whom are members of Black and Latinx communities, which are most impacted by the epidemic.

“It is beyond disappointing to see that the Rauner Administration has left almost $10 million on the table, which could have been used to achieve a goal that will save Illinois untold millions of dollars and improve the lives of thousands of people living with and vulnerable to HIV,” Peller explained. “For example, these funds could have been spent expanding routine HIV testing in health care settings and community-based HIV testing to identify individuals who don’t know they have HIV and link them to care.”

* Biss campaign…

Daniel Biss today responded to Bruce Rauner’s decision to withhold nearly $10 million in funding for HIV services that was appropriated by the Illinois legislature. Rauner made the decision unilaterally and without public disclosure or notification.

“Bruce Rauner is continuing his abysmal record on healthcare related issues,” said Daniel Biss. “These funds were approved, and were supposed to be spent on funding HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services. While Illinois is making great strides in HIV prevention and treatment, Rauner is ignoring lawmakers from both parties who passed this funding bill in an exceptionally difficult budget year because completely eliminating HIV is a priority. For the governor to deny vital public health programs and then attempt to hide that fact, is immoral and insensitive.”

The report comes amid continuing fallout from Governor Rauner’s failures in handling the Legionnaires Disease outbreak at the Quincy veterans home. Upon taking office in 2015, one of Rauner’s first acts was to halt a program created by HB4554, under which the state provided financial support for Truvada, or PrEP, coverage.

Daniel Biss sponsored HB4554, which guaranteed coverage of PrEP and HIV testing, treatment, and counseling for individuals who qualify for Medicaid. He also supported expanding Medicaid eligibility, and is the only candidate for governor who supports a Medicare-for-All single payer healthcare system.

* From the Illinois Department of Public Health…

HIV related activities make up the largest single funded IDPH program. While IDPH commends the work of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, with whom it works closely, it is singling out only one of the funding sources for the IDPH HIV program.

Approximately $91M in total was appropriated for the HIV program this current fiscal year. IDPH anticipates spending approximately $80M before the end of the fiscal year and is in the process of issuing grants from the Quality of Life fund and the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Act fund. Having a reserve in the budget is common and is not something that began with the Rauner administration.

IDPH is committed to HIV services in Illinois, which includes a very robust launch of PrEP demonstration projects, an open ADAP formulary, expanded harm reduction and syringe exchange services to combat the Opioid epidemic, and expansion of curative treatment of HCV among dually infected HIV patients.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    Diana Rauner, President of The Ounce, calls this whole situation a business decision and thanks JB Pritzker and the Pritzker family trusts for helping to save The Ounce from Bruce.


  2. - Keyrock - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    Why are they attacking Bruce Rauner? He’s not in charge.


  3. - JohnPeller - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    In response to IDPH, about $75 million of the $91 million they’re referring to is federal funds that come with significant restrictions on how the funds can be used.

    State funds are critical because they can be used to fill the gaps in federal funds and used in creative ways that will ultimately reduce new HIV cases and improve care for people living with HIV. For example, according to CDC, 14% (about 7,000) of people with HIV in the state don’t know they have the virus (a huge improvement over the past, by the way). The state could be building on existing successful programs to further reduce this number.

    In my 14 years of working on state HIV funding issues and the state budget, I have never seen 38% of HIV funding lump sum held back as a reserve.

    John Peller, President & CEO, AFC


  4. - Anon - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:02 pm:

    Borderline criminal negligence.

    Even Trump didn’t cut HIV funding last year because of the pressure on Mike Pence in Indiana when he was govenor and they cut HIV funding which led to an outbreak.


  5. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    Setting aside for a minute what the funding is for, an appropriation isn’t a mandate to spend money. It’s permission. I’m not sure that’s always understood. That being said you have to wonder what other options they may have had to come up with a reserve.


  6. - Anon221 - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    Another example of Shah’s SuperStar work as a “public health economist”??? /S


  7. - Thinking - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    The clock has to be on Dr Shah. How much more can he mess up?


  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:10 pm:

    When money’s tight, you have to prioritize and get creative with available funds.

    That pinstripe patronage consultant army has to eat. Have you seen the prices at Gene & Georgetti’s? You want the whiz kids from Deloitte to slum it at Shaw’s?


  9. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    Is this a budget offset to allow IDPH more money to pursue frivolous lawsuits against medical marijuana patients?

    Can Department Directors be impeached?


  10. - I Miss Bentohs - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    I’m sorry but they need to spend less on this. Illinois has to get serious about reigning in expenses.


  11. - Demoralized - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==I’m sorry but they need to spend less on this.==

    Make a policy argument for why first. Cutting for the sake of cutting isn’t good policy. You evaluate and prioritize. Maybe this can be cut. I don’t know. But don’t just say things have to be cut without any thought as to what we should cut.


  12. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 4:18 pm:

    Google Indiana and HIV epidemic and see what happens when your policies amount to having your head in the sand.


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