As a battle between the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and state Medicaid officials plays out in court in Tallahassee, people with HIV and AIDS are taking it to the Southeast Florida streets.
Patients will stage a protest Tuesday outside Simply Healthcare’s offices in Hialeah, protesting the managed-care company’s decision to not contract with clinics owned and operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
About 1,600 patients are slated to lose access March 1 to the clinics in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and to 20 doctors who exclusively work for the foundation. The foundation has asked Simply Healthcare to sign a contract with the foundation’s clinics, a move that foundation officials say has been rejected and is the impetus for the Tuesday protest.
James Freeman, a spokesman for Simply Healthcare, said the managed care plan's "focus is on providing quality care for our members" and is committed to successfully transitioning Medicaid beneficiaries in Southeast Florida.
"We stand ready to welcome these new members, ensuring those living with HIV/AIDS continue to receive their Medicaid covered services and expanded benefits with seamless access to our outstanding, highly trained team of providers,” said Freeman, whose company will provide the services through its Clear Health Alliance plan.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been battling with the state for months after decisions by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to not award contracts to the organization’s Positive Healthcare managed-care plan to provide care in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties over the next five years.
Simply Healthcare received contracts from the state. The foundation asked a Leon County circuit judge last week to issue a temporary injunction barring the state from forcing patients to switch health plans.
The foundation also has filed an appeal at the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, challenging the state’s underlying decision to not include the foundation in a round of negotiations for the five-year Medicaid managed care contracts.