In History: Medicare and Medicaid Celebrates the 55th Anniversary

On July 30, 1965, Medicare and Medicaid programs were establish when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation them into law. This year marks the 55th anniversary of these important healthcare programs and they have continued to protect the health and well-being of millions of families, saving lives, and improving the economic security in the United States.

To learn more about Medicare and Medicaid in San Francisco follow this link: https://www.cms.gov/media/405741

Resources:

https://www.medicareresources.org/basic-medicare-information/brief-history-of-medicare/

Congratulations to SF HIV FOG for acceptance of their AIDS2020 Abstract

PRC would like to congratulation the San Francisco HIV Frontline Organizing Group (SF HIV FOG) for the acceptance of their AIDS2020 abstract: CREATING A PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY OF FRONTLINE WORKERS AS AN INNOVATIVE METHOD TO IMPROVE THE CARE OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS.

Below is the poster which was shown at the virtual AIDS2020 conference, July 6 thru 10.

COVID-19 ADAP Update from the California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS

  • For all participants whose enrollment expired or was set to expire before August 30, 2020
    • ADAP & PrEP-AP has extended eligibility to August 31, 2020
  • OA-HIPP, EB-HIPP & MDPP enrollments have been extended through September 30, 2020
  • New ADAP applicants can reach out by phone or email to an enrollment worker
  • If you are having difficulty finding an enrollment worker, call 844-421-7050 for assistance
  • Until July 15, 2020, applicants can provide their 2018 tax returns as proof of income for program eligibility

What is PrEP?

Have you heard of PrEP and wondered what it stood for?

PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a daily HIV prevention pill for those who are HIV-negative and want to reduce their risk of exposure to HIV.  Research shows that, when taken consistently, PrEP provides protection from contracting HIV in a high percentage of individuals.

The California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS offers assistance to those without insurance to cover PrEP. You may be eligible to receive PrEP free of charge as part of the Patient Assistance Program, known as PrEP-AP.  The program provides assistance with PrEP-related medical costs and other medications for the prevention of HIV and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

PrEP-AP Eligibility:

  • California resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Negative HIV/AIDS test result (dated within six months of the PrEP-AP application)
  • Annual Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) cannot exceed 500% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Medication expenses are not fully covered by Medi-Cal or other third-party payers
  • Enrolled in the manufacturer’s assistance program (if eligible)

If an individual is HIV+, the California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS has other programs to help pay for medication and health coverage related expenses:  AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP),  Health Insurance Premium Payment program (OA-HIPP),  Employer-Based Health Insurance Premium Payment (EB-HIPP), and Medicare Part D Premium Payment (MDPP) Assistance.

References and Resources:

PrEP Facts

Getting to Zero SF PrEP

ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER No. C19-09 & -07c – Shelter In Place through May 31

April 29th – San Francisco’s health orders were updated and extended through May 31st.

Click here to access the updated order, Frequently Asked Questions, and information about “what has changed” from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

March 31st – San Francisco Department of Health has issued “ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER No. C19-07b (SHELTER IN PLACE)” which outlines requirements for San Francisco residents, businesses, and visitors.

Click here for access to an overview and full information on this order

March 20th – San Francisco Department of Health has issued “ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER No. C19-09 (LIMITATIONS ON RESIDENTIAL FACILITY VISITORS)” which outlines the constraints currently in place on visitors to PRC BP residential facilities.

Click here for access to the full information on this order.

HIV Prevention Starts with Each of Us:Women and Girls Awareness Day and Let’s End the HIV Epidemic Together

Every year on March 10th,  the U.S. observes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

HIV prevention and treatment are critical to reducing new HIV cases among women and girls.  Women and girls – as well as their partners, friends, and family members who care about them – are encouraged to learn more about how they can take control of their own health to prevent and treat HIV.

HIV/AIDS is an equality opportunity virus. Any woman or girl who is sexually active can contract HIV/AIDS regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. However, statistics show that African American and Latinx women and girls have a higher chance of acquiring HIV than their counterparts. [Facts https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html]

There is great news! With today’s advancements in HIV/AIDS research and treatment it is possible to prevent HIV infection or passing the virus on to a partner or baby.  Some unique challenges women and girls face are related to STDs, which may increase the risk of HIV infection.

Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) is addressing the specific needs of women and girls who could be exposed to the virus or living with HIV.

Please take a minute to view this important message from Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

Follow these links to:

Learn more about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Find a local HIV testing or a healthcare provider, visit locator.HIV.gov.

Find out more about PrEP at HIV.gov/PrEP and see if you qualify for the Ready, Set, PrEP at GetYourPrEP.com

Together, we can stop HIV.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits With HIV/AIDS

If you have HIV or AIDS, and your symptoms have advanced and made it impossible for you to work and earn a living, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two different disability programs that offer monthly benefits to disabled workers. A medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, is used to determine if an individual meets the medical criteria to qualify for disability benefits. There are several listings in the Blue Book that may apply to an HIV or AIDS diagnosis, but there is a specific listing that focuses on the condition itself.

Meeting the Medical Criteria

Section 14.00 of the Blue Book applies to adult immune system disorders. Listing 14.11 itself applies to HIV infection itself. To qualify using this listing, you must provide documentation to confirm your diagnosis, and you must also be able to prove one of the following:

  • Multicentric Castleman disease that affects multiple groups of organs containing lymphoid tissue or lymph nodes OR
  • Primary effusion lymphoma OR
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalolopathy OR
  • Primary central nervous system lymphoma OR
  • Pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma OR
  • Absolute CD4 count of 50 cells/mm3 or less OR
  • Absolute CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 or CD4 percentage of less than 14 percent, and one of the following – BMI measurement of less than 18.5, hemoglobin measurement of less than 8.0 grams per deciliter, or complications of HIV infection requiring a minimum of three hospitalizations within a 12-month period at least 30 days apart with each hospitalization lasting no less than 48 hours.

For your claim to be successful, you must provide hard medical evidence that includes test results and different laboratory tests that confirm your diagnosis and that support your claim. Any opportunistic diseases that you have been diagnosed with should have indications of a cell-mediated immunity and should have been diagnosed by the proper testing. As an example, provide biopsy results for any cancer diagnosis and biopsy results for toxoplasmosis of the brain. You should provide detailed records that confirm any systems, restrictions, and limitations, such as headaches, fever, brain lesions, and seizures.

Even if your diagnosis does not meet any of the specific Listings set out above, you can still be found disabled if you can show that your impairment prevents you from being able to perform the functions of your past relevant work or other full time work.

Medical tests, including positive serology tests, should be provided to help confirm the diagnosis and its severity. Some blood tests, including CD4 tests, aren’t adequate for confirming a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS. Remember, hard medical evidence and supporting documentation are essential for a disability claim to be successful.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you are unable to work because of HIV or AIDS, or because of an opportunistic disease resulting from either of those conditions, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. You can start your application process online at the SSA’s website or by calling 1-800-772-1213 and talking with a representative or by scheduling an appointment at your local SSA field office. While it sometimes takes months for a claim to be approved, the more documentation that you provide to support your claim, the more likely you are to get an approval and be awarded disability benefits.

Resources:

https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations/

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/14.00-Immune-Adult.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/14.00-Immune-Adult.htm#14_11

https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/glossary/social-security-disability-medical-sources

https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/

Check out the new ADAP Client Portal!

On September 3, 2019, the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS released the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Client portal.

Using the portal, clients enrolled in ADAP can:

  • View their client ID, enrollment site, enrollment worker contact information, eligibility status, and eligibility end date
  • View the Insurance Assistance Program information if enrolled, including program type (OA-HIPP, EB-HIPP, or MDPP), insurance carrier, eligibility status, and eligibility end date
  • Elect to receive automatic notifications about eligibility and re-enrollment
  • Recertify if there are no changes to residency or health insurance and annual household income is within program limits

To request access to the Client Portal, contact the ADAP Call Center at 1-844-421-7050, Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. After requesting access, the client will receive an email with a URL to the client portal. Using the link, the client will enter their email address as the username and a temporary password, and then be prompted to create a new password. Contact the ADAP Call Center, with any issues accessing the Client Portal.

For more information about ADAP, go to California Department of Health Office of AIDS webpage.

If you are interested in ADAP and not yet enrolled, contact an ADAP Enrollment Worker to apply. To find an Enrollment Worker in your area, go to ADAP Enrollment Site Locator.

PRC endorses U=U

SAN FRANCISCO (June 20, 2019) – PRC, whose nonprofit mission is to provide a variety of legal, social and health services to San Francisco residents affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues, has announced its official endorsement of the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.

Whether one is affected by HIV or is HIV negative, it is important to know and understand U=U.  The U=U campaign was born in New York City and has quickly spread across North America and the global community.

The stigma associated with HIV remains one of the greatest barriers for people in accessing HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and support. PRC’s endorsement of U=U sends a clear message that sharing the knowledge regarding U=U with our San Francisco community is an urgent priority to save lives and fight stigma, as well as is a call to take action to help spread the message.

U=U (Undectable equals Untransmittable) has unequivocally been supported by scientific evidence.  It shows that, when an individual is in HIV Treatment and maintains a suppressed viral load, there is effectively no risk of transmission to their partner during sex.

Through its partnership with Getting to Zero San Francisco, PRC is committed to preventing new HIV diagnoses and supporting people living with HIV to stay in treatment so they can live their best lives.

Continued support of campaigns like U=U is critical to ending HIV-related stigma. This will help us achieve the goals of preventing new diagnoses, reaching undiagnosed individuals, and ensuring that people living with HIV receive the care, treatment and support they need.

 

About PRC

PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helps people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues better realize the opportunities available to them. PRC provides integrated legal, social, and health services to address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness and limit potential. In 2017, the organization merged with AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), an emergency financial assistance provider for low-income residents living with HIV/AIDS, and Baker Places, an agency that provides a comprehensive array of residential treatment services to people with mental health, substance use, and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Combined, the three organizations represent a 115-year history of service and serve approximately 5,000 clients annually. For more information, please visit www.prcsf.org

SSI Recipients Can Now Receive CalFresh Benefits

Beginning in June 2019, California residents receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who also receive a State Supplementary Payment (SSP) can get CalFresh benefits.

The SSP program was intended to replace the Food Stamp program (now known as CalFresh in California) for SSI beneficiaries when it was implemented in 1974. Over the years, the SSP benefit has remained relatively stable, while CalFresh benefits have increased to reflect inflation. Given the relative loss of value of SSP benefits, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1811 to allow SSI/SSP recipients also to receive CalFresh benefits.

This means more opportunities for SSI/SSP beneficiaries to purchase nutritious food

CalFresh is a free nutrition assistance program that enhances the food budgets of low-income individuals. Monthly CalFresh benefits range between $15 to $192 based on household size, income, and monthly expenses. SSI/SSP recipients can apply for CalFresh benefits to purchase food at vendors who accept EBT such as grocery stores, farmers markets participating in the Market Match, and restaurants participating in the Restaurant Meals Program (View Map). SSI/SSP beneficiaries who receive CalFresh will have no reduction to their SSI/SSP payment.

Assembly Bill 1811 also resulted in a monthly grant increase of $10 for recipients of the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) so that SSI/SSP benefits and CAPI benefits are equal. CAPI beneficiaries will remain eligible for CalFresh benefits.

Households already receiving CalFresh who had an excluded SSI beneficiary may receive an increase to their CalFresh benefits. However, this change will increase the overall income for some households as SSI/SSP income will no longer be excluded, which may cause a reduction in the monthly CalFresh grant. For those households who would experience a reduction in CalFresh Benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Benefit (SNB) and Transitional Nutrition Benefit (TNB) programs will provide additional benefits to avoid any reduction to overall nutrition benefits.

There are three ways to apply

Each applicant may need to provide proof of income, residency, and identity. HSA may be able to help with obtaining these required documents. Learn more about benefits and eligibility.

NOTE: Due to the high volume of new applicants, applicants may experience extended wait times at HSA service centers and by phone in June and July 2019. Consider applying online or call (415) 558-4700 to schedule an in-person appointment.