BATON ROUGE, La.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which is in the midst of a dispute
with Baton Rouge over the equitable awarding of federal HIV/AIDS service
funds, was dismayed by claims that the parish is not entering into new
contracts for any services, and is withholding payments for services
provided by all nonprofit groups, pending the outcome of this dispute.
AHF is concerned that this may disrupt needed services, and will offer
affected groups no interest loans to prevent any gaps in these critical
This apparent decision comes on the heels of a lawsuit initiated by AHF
that claims that Baton Rouge unlawfully and arbitrarily discriminated in
the awarding of contracts for some AIDS services, which are paid for by
the federal government through the Ryan White CARE Act.
“AHF has a right, like any other group or person, to go to court to
challenge government practices that it thinks are unlawful, and the
principle of fair and open public contracting and spending of tax
dollars is vital, especially for ending this epidemic,” said AHF
Southern Bureau Chief Michael Kahane. “However, this right can in
no way be used as a reason or justification to stop funding for all
AHF, which is the largest clinic provider in the East Baton Rouge
parish, services over 1,500 patients at our two locations, most of whom
are HIV positive. The contract awards at issue involve contracts for
eight different services for people with HIV/AIDS. AHF asserts that
Baton Rouge abused its authority in the awarding of contracts for only
three of those eight services.
“It is very easy for Baton Rouge to get to a resolution of our dispute
without disrupting services or withholding payments for the entire range
of services people with HIV/AIDS need. At a minimum, the parish can
simply extend existing contracts, and maintain the status quo, for
ninety days,” continued Kahane. AHF has taken all actions to get the
case decided as quickly as possible.
According to the most recent statistics released by the Louisiana
Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health HIV/AIDS
Surveillance, the Baton Rouge metropolitan area ranked 2nd for AIDS case
rates among the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.
If Baton Rouge fails to ensure that services are not disrupted, AHF has
announced that it will offer groups that may be adversely affected no
interest loans during this time. “All AHF wants is to ensure that
government operations are open and fair. People with HIV/AIDS should not
have to suffer because of this,” said Kahane.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
605,000 individuals in 35 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Director, Communications and Community Engagement, Southern Bureau
Senior Director, Communications