Congress passed Ryan White Act: EMS played important role
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) advocates played an important role in last Friday's passing of The Ryan White Act HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009.
The reinstating of rapid notification for first responders in the Ryan White Act was no lucky break — EMS advocates played an important role in identifying and addressing the problem far in advance.
"We were told by experts that there was an issue with the 2006 Act in that it left out rapid notification of first responders," said Kurt Krumperman, Vice President of Advocates for EMS.
Advocates for EMS is a coalition of EMS organizations dedicated to advocating education and awareness of EMS issues among Washington policymakers.
"AEMS investigated and took the initiative to work with the IAFC, IAFF, NVFC and EMS unions to pull together a coalition," Krumperman said.
After forming a broad coalition, the strategy AEMS took was to get language reintroduced — without expanding the bill — to fix the lack of rapid notification.
"If someone has been exposed in a hospital, this method of notification creates a rapid mechanism for testing and reporting of that information," Krumperman said.
Though the recent emergency declaration due to H1N1 creates unusual circumstances that would allow hospitals to bypass the rapid notification rules, Krumperman says the policy would have a significant impact on EMS.
"I understand that right now there is an emergency, but most of the time there isn't," Kuperman said. "Under normal circumstances rapid intervention is very important."
In related news, President Barack Obama also announced an end to the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban during a signing ceremony for The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. It is the fourth re-authorization of the Ryan White Care Act.
When Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director for Immigration Equality, heard last week that President Obama was expected to end the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban, she welcomed the announcement.
Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of the LGBT lobby group Immigration Equality, welcomed the announcement.
“At long last, people living with HIV will no longer be pointlessly barred from this country,” Tiven said. "Every day, Immigration Equality hears from individuals and families who have been separated because of the ban, with no benefit to the public health. Now, those families can be reunited."
Enactment of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act will fund critical HIV/AIDS treatment and some prevention programs through 2013 at about $2.5 billion annually, representing a 5% increase for all sections of the act. The program helps about 500,000 mostly low-income and uninsured people living with AIDS/HIV per year, according to the Government Accountability Office.
The Ryan White CARE Act, named after an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion in 1984, was originally passed in 1990 and has since been extended three times.
According to remarks made by the President at the signing of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Act of 2009, on Monday, President Obama's administration will publish a final rule that eliminates the HIV Travel and Immigration Ban effective just after the New Year.
Read the section affecting emergency care and emergency care responders, here.
Read the entire bill "Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009"
Remarks by the President at Signing of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Act of 2009 (Press Release, October 30, 2009, 11:58 EDT)