Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Florida Solution: Prescription Freedom Act of 2016

By: David W. Poole, Director of Legislative Affairs, Southern Bureau, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Mandate, Mitigate, and Manage, perhaps the 3 M’s are the most overused verbs tossed around regularly and often throughout our vast and complex healthcare systems, all in the spirit of optimal outcomes for the patient, right?  Perhaps some of the time. Hopefully patient outcomes are core to all parts of our healthcare universe – which includes hospitals, pharmacies/specialty pharmacies, outpatient surgery centers, home health care,  rehabilitation centers, manufacturers, insurers, wholesalers, and the list goes on and on. Patient outcome language was certainly integrated into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “PPACA” or the often shortened “ACA.” And the Ryan White legislation throughout its now 25 year history has long since included patient health outcomes as an expectation for grantees managing this very important safety net for person living with HIV disease.

Medical claim form with a "DENIED" stamp on it
Photo Source: optimistically pessimistic

But what about the “C” word, CHOICE or the “F” word, FREEDOM. Choice and the freedom to choose should be at the real heart of our continuum of care – choice or options that facilitate optimal health care outcomes. And if you have optimal health outcomes shouldn’t the economic benefits follow. Choice is the enemy of barriers to access (which can include the 3 M’s),  both purposeful and unintentional. Choice and freedom are the best friends to individualism – what works for one patient doesn’t work for the next patient, thus having choice and the freedom to choose what works - serves the patient and all health care stakeholders in the best possible way.

You may be surprised to learn that your health care systems deprive you of the freedom to choose the option that serves you best and none is more glaring than many insurer mandated mail order policies. These policies can take many different forms with nuances too numerous to cite; however, two lawmakers in Florida have filed legislation for 2016 that will hopefully reverse this trend with persons living with HIV, Epilepsy, Diabetes and Hypertension. Senator Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Representative Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) have filed Senate Bill 780 and House Bill 583, "The Prescription Freedom Act." These bills simply provide for patient choice of receiving their medications through a brick and mortar pharmacy or a mail order program – the insurer must not mandate that a patient access their medications from only one or the other and there cannot be financial advantage or leverage assigned to one over the other for the patient or for the insurer. Let freedom ring in health care choices and may options be abundant!

Disclaimer: Guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of the ADAP Advocacy Association, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby the author serves to promote open, honest discussion about public health-related issues and updates. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's Time to End Bad HIV Laws!

By: Brandon M. Macsata, CEO, ADAP Advocacy Association

The ADAP Advocacy Association applauds the efforts of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to combat HIV-related criminalization laws with the launch of their new national public education campaign, "It's Time to End Bad HIV Laws!" A new microsite,, is headlined by an informative and passionate video showcasing Marvell Terry II. Terry makes the compelling case against these outdated and unfair laws targeting people simply for their HIV status.

The HRC national public education campaign was launched in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP). Whereas the video addresses the 30 states with outdated HIV-related criminalization laws, its messages applies to the stigma experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS nationwide.

Screenshot of the HRC video, showing 30 hashmarks to indicate the number of states with HIV-related criminalization laws.
It's Time to End Bad HIV Laws
On YouTube, there have been nearly 30,000 views in just a few short days. To watch the video on YouTube, go to

The Human Rights Campaign's Senior Specialist for HIV Prevention & Health Equity, Noël Gordon summarized: "We are closer than we've ever been to turning the page on the domestic HIV & AIDS epidemic. But HIV criminalization laws continue to undermine that progress, especially among LGBTQ communities of color. HRC launched this campaign - in collaboration with the Center for HIV Law & Policy and the National Center for Lesbian Rights - to shine a spotlight on these outdated laws and to build public support for addressing them once and for all."

HRC is encouraging people to raise awareness about these bad laws by Tweeting using hashtag #EndBadHIVLaws!

Tweet: Check out this new anti-HIV criminalization video by @HRC - It's Time to End Bad HIV Laws!

HIV-related criminalization laws indirectly impact the delivery of supports and services under the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), as well as all other programs designed to help people living with HIV/AIDS. These bad laws undermine ADAPs and the successful treatment options afforded to patients, which have resulted in better health outcomes, fewer new infections, and lower community viral load rates across the country.

Together, let's help the HRC end bad HIV laws!

CLICK HERE to read "Personal Perspective: Impact of HIV Criminalization," a 2013 blog by Robert Suttle, Assistant Director at the SERO Project and ADAP Advocacy Association board member.