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Program to help people with AIDS

December 03, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

A statewide program to assist people with AIDS or HIV in rural Maryland counties, including Washington County, will continue thanks to a $6.9 million grant, officials said.

Forty-six Washington County residents received financial assistance for rent or utilities through the program between July 1, 1997, and June 30, 1998, said Charlie Brown, project director for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program.

That funding also benefited 56 family members of those with AIDS or HIV, Brown said.

Through the new grant, $75,000 will be available each year for three years to 10 rural Maryland counties, including Washington County, for rental assistance, Brown said.

The grant money will be available June 30, he said.

Washington County will have a $50,000 emergency fund for a three-year period to help prevent evictions and keep utilities from being cut off, he said.

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Brown said 61 people and 13 family members received other help through the program, including food, case management and transportation to the doctor.

The grant will create a new program to help AIDS and HIV-infected people pay for drugs for treatment, Brown said.

People with AIDS or HIV have to wait several weeks between applying for Medicaid funding and getting approval, he said.

Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties will receive $20,700 over a three-year period to help those people pay for their drug treatments during the waiting period, Brown said.

Once Medicaid approval is received, Medicaid will reimburse the fund, he said. The fund would not be reimbursed for patients who are not approved by Medicaid.

The program also funds regional medical clinics that are staffed by Johns Hopkins Hospital personnel, Brown said.

The clinic is available once a month at the Washington County Health Department off Pennsylvania Avenue, said Bonnie Distad, program manager.

Patients can receive primary medical care at the clinic or consult with the doctor if they're having difficulty with their medicines, Distad said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development began the program in 1995.

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