Tom Liberti, chief of the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS confirmed to The Florida Independent that his office has announced a proposal to reduce eligibility for HIV/AIDS patients who get their medication through the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
Florida has over 3,900 HIV/AIDS patients on its Drug Assistance Program waiting list, the highest number of any state in the nation. More than 2,800 of these people live in just six Florida counties.
Liberti said his office will hold public hearings about reducing the percentage of the federal poverty level that patients must fall below in order to qualify for the Drugs Assistance Program. He said this proposal would go through a formal process that starts with public hearings. If approved, the decrease would be enacted in May or June.
The proposed decrease would make it harder to access the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program by requiring that patients’ income be 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level. Currently, patients must earn 400 percent or less of the federal poverty level.