State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs):  A National Status Report on Access – News Release

Despite Funding Increases In Recent Years, Many States Limiting AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) In Response To Growing Demand And Costs

Drugs Covered, Eligibility, and State Contribution Vary Widely Across State ADAPs

Embargoed for release until: 9:30 am, EST, Thursday, July 10, 1997

Washington, D.C. — As expensive new drug therapies prove more promising in treating peopleliving with HIV/AIDS, a survey of the nation’s 52 state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, or ADAPs,finds that despite an 85 percent increase in total program spending between 1996 and 1997, morethan half imposed limits to cope with growing demand and costs. Thirty-five ADAPs enacted at leastone “emergency measure” in the last year:

  • Seventeen transferred funds from other AIDS-specific services or other discretionary health department funds;
  • Sixteen instituted waiting lists for access to the program or protease inhibitors;
  • Fifteen capped or restricted access to protease inhibitors;
  • Thirteen capped the number of people served;
  • Eleven reduced the number of drugs covered; and
  • Seven restricted eligibility by lowering the income levels covered.

As of this month, 23 ADAPs continue to have an emergency cost-containment measure in place.

The study, which was conducted for the Kaiser Family Foundation by the National Alliance of Stateand Territorial AIDS Directors and the AIDS Treatment Data Network, also found wide variationacross the nation’s ADAPs in terms of income and medical eligibility criteria, state contribution to theprogram, and drugs covered:

  • Income eligibility ranges from coverage for people with incomes up to 100% of poverty ($7890 or less for one person) in Arkansas and Utah to a high of 400% above the federal poverty level in California, Hawaii, Idaho and Rhode Island.
  • In 1997, 30 ADAPs supplemented federal funding of the program with state money and 22 provided no additional contribution.
  • Most ADAPs cover at least some of the drugs that can be used in the combination drug therapies that are recommended for the treatment of HIV-positive individuals by the federal Public Health Service. Two states — New York and North Carolina –currently cover all available antiretrovirals. Only four ADAPs — Arkansas, Nevada, Oregon, and South Dakota — do not cover any of the approved protease inhibitors.

“At a time when new guidelines are calling for expanded access to AIDS drugs, state and federal policymakers face difficult decisions about how to meet the growing demand on state AIDS Drug AssistancePrograms,” said Sophia Chang, M.D., Director, HIV Programs, Kaiser Family Foundation.

In June of this year, the Public Health Service (PHS), part of the federal Department of Health andHuman Services, released draft guidelines for HIV antiretroviral therapy that recommend patients starton a combination drug treatment earlier in the course of the disease.The report concluded that theguidelines would put further pressure on state programs to finance needed drugs: “Although theimplications of implementing these new guidelines have not been established, they will likely increasepressure on state ADAPs to expand drug coverage and keep pace with expected client growth.””Unfortunately, many state ADAPs are unprepared to offer this standard of care to eligible patients whomay be candidates for triple combination therapy,” the researchers said.

Budget and Demand: What’s Been Happening Recently to ADAP?

Between 1996 and 1997, the overall ADAP budget including both federal and state contributionsincreased 85 percent from $208 million to $385 million. Over the last two years, ADAP budgetsnationally grew three-fold.

National ADAP Funding Source Changes Between 1996 and 1997Funding Source FY 1996
(in millions) FY 1997
(in millions) Percent Change Federal * $136.1 $ 249.6 + 83% State $ 53.7 $109.0 + 103% Other (includes Drug Rebates, Insurance Recovery) $ 17.7 $ 26.4 + 50% Total $207.5 $385.0 + 85%
* Includes both Title I and II funds
The report notes that while states may be reluctant to report ADAP budget shortfalls, at least in partbecause some state laws prohibit overspending of federal or state resources, in this survey elevenADAPs did indicate anticipating shortfalls in 1997: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Montana,New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Vermont, Washington State, and West Virginia. In addition, threeothers — Florida, Mississippi, and South Dakota — reported having had to severely limit services alreadythis year in response to increased demand and cost.

“While there has been a significant increase in both federal and state support to ADAP in the last year,states are spending their funds almost as soon as they receive them due to growing client demand andthe costly new standard of treatment. In many states, this translates into restricted access to AIDSdrugs,” said Joseph Kelly, Deputy Director, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.

Forty-two of the 52 ADAPs reported increases in the number of low-income HIV-positive people servedin the last six months of 1996, the most recent period for which information is available. Nationally, thenumber of clients served in December 1996 was 23 percent higher than in the previous July — anaverage increase of approximately 1,000 clients per month. Monthly program spending during the samesix month period increased overall by 37 percent, from $14.9 million to $20.4 million.

During the calendar year 1996, the national estimate of the total number of people served by ADAP was80,000. The report’s authors find that “in spite of very limited data, an estimate of those persons withHIV who would be eligible for the program range between 140,000 and 280,000 nationally,” a range thatwould imply a “two- to four-fold increase in potential ADAP clients.”

AIDS Drug Assistance Program, or ADAP, is a state-administered program that providesaccess to the drugs used to treat HIV and prevent the onset of related opportunistic infections forlow-income people living with HIV/AIDS who do not have adequate private or public healthinsurance. The program forms one link in the continuum of publicly-funded HIV care and servicesthat includes the Ryan White CARE Act, Medicaid, Medicare, and local indigent health careprograms. The 52 ADAPs — fifty states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — receivefederal funds through the Ryan White CARE Act. In 1997, thirty states contributed supplementaryfunding. In 1997 total federal and state ADAP spending was $385 million. States set the incomeand medical eligibility, determine which drugs will be covered and how they will be purchased anddistributed.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, is a non-profit, independent nationalhealth care philanthropy and is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. TheFoundation’s work is focused on four main areas: health policy, reproductive health, and HIV in theUnited States, and health and development in South Africa.

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) represents the chiefHIV/AIDS program managers in every U.S. state and territorial health department responsible foradministering federally-funded HIV/AIDS prevention surveillance, health care, supportive service andhousing programs, including Title II of the Ryan White CARE Act. Established in 1992, NASTADprovides a forum for technical assistance and dissemination of information about effective HIVprevention and continuum of care programs among state AIDS directors.

The AIDS Treatment Data Network (ATDN) operates the Access Project, a nationwide database ofAIDS Drug Assistance Programs, Medicaid Programs and pharmaceutical industry-sponsored drugaccess programs, as well as provides information about drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS.

Copies of State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs: A National Status Report on Access can beordered by calling the Kaiser Family Foundation’s toll-free publications request line at 1-800/656-4533. (Ask for report #1275).

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