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Trillium Health to Governor: Don’t Take Away Our Resources!

Dec 7, 2020

Trillium Health to Governor: Don’t Take Away Our Resources!

Governor’s World AIDS Day Announcement Came as a Complete Surprise to Trillium Health

and other HIV/AIDS Clinics

(ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, December 7, 2020) –  On World AIDS Day, Governor Andrew Cuomo released an announcement that came as a complete surprise to Trillium Health and other HIV/AIDS clinics. In the announcement, the Governor proposed $100 Million in Medicaid Redesign Savings in an effort to appease HIV providers – meanwhile, it’s only a fraction of the dollars the Department of Health is planning to take away from HIV/AIDS clinics if changes to the 340B prescription drug discount program go into effect on April 1, 2021.

Trillium Health has been fighting back against Governor Cuomo’s cuts to the federal 340B prescription drug discount program in the middle of a global pandemic. If the cuts are allowed to go into effect, the agency will lose more than $5 million, on top of a 20% withholding by the governor on state grants. This will force Trillium Health to reduce or eliminate many of its basic services in Rochester – including food, housing, and transportation for low-income families, communities of color, and people living with HIV .

“Trillium Health depends on the ability to buy prescription medicine at a reduced price in order to provide comprehensive healthcare services at little-to-no cost to its patients through the federal 340B drug discount program,” said Andrea DeMeo, President and CEO of Trillium Health. “This is the absolute worst time for funding cuts. We’re simultaneously fighting two epidemics (HIV and the opioid epidemic) and a global pandemic (COVID-19) at the same time. It will exacerbate existing health inequities and lead to poorer health outcomes in our community. That’s why we’re calling on the governor to reverse these devastating cuts.”

The 340B program was established by the federal government in 1992 to help safety net providers serve people who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Last year, the New York State budget contained included a little-noticed provision that would carve the pharmacy benefit out of Medicaid managed care and replace it with a fee-for-service model as a “cost savings” measure.

In addition, funding is already being withheld from many AIDS Institute grants, which allow for the prevention and treatment of HIV. Statewide, approximately 20% of funding is being withheld. The change in the prescription drug benefit creates a double-edged sword.

“For Ryan White clinics like Trillium Health, this change would result in a significant step backward in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Andrea DeMeo, President and CEO of Trillium Health. “The reduction of 340 savings would threaten comprehensive services for our patients living with HIV, and prevention efforts to stop the spread of the virus. We’re asking the governor to reverse his decision, so we may continue to provide the highest quality of care to the most vulnerable members of our community. In these challenging fiscal times, there are numerous ways to raise revenue and cut spending in Albany that are NOT on the backs of safety net providers. Along with the Legislature, I would implore the Governor to consider other options instead.”

For more information about the impact of cuts to the 340B program on Trillium Health, please visit: https://www.trilliumhealth.org/about-us/prescription-drug-discount-programs.

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 About Trillium Health

As a Federally Qualified Health Center, Trillium Health's mission is to promote health equity by providing affordable and extraordinary primary and specialty health care to all, including LGBTQ+ communities, in Rochester, New York. Its comprehensive model of care ensures care for people from all backgrounds, regardless of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or ethnicity. For more information, please visit www.trilliumhealth.org.