Health center recognized for HIV/AIDS work
The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center and its program for treatment of human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS have gained recognition from a national leader in treating the disease.
Dr. Renslow Sherer of Chicago visited the center in late November, giving a nod to work by health care providers there. Sherer is co-chairman of the HIV Collaborative program, which aims to improve health care treatment of people with HIV. The program is led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Sherer is director of coordinated HIV services at the CORE Center at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, a model ambulatory facility for HIV.
About 80 other community health centers, hospitals and other providers are participating in the program organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The groups are united under the goal of developing the most effective model of care for patients with HIV/AIDS.
The group have received grants from the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act. According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, about 200,000 people in the United States, or roughly one-third of people with HIV, do not receive regular primary medical care. Many of these people are likely to be racial or ethnic minorities, women, or people with addictive or mental health disorders, IHI reports. The collaborative program aims to increase the number of people who receive treatment for HIV/AIDS.
Sherer applauded results from the nationwide HIV Collaborative program, showing improvement in health care for HIV patients. Overall, the program showed a 25 percent gain in overall care and the total number of patients receiving medication for the disease increased, he said.
"The results have been very exciting," he said.
The Anchorage center also showed improvement in treatment and services for HIV patients and proved gains in keeping people on their medication, he noted.
"What I think is so important is that the program allowed more experienced centers to share what they have learned so far," Sherer said.
The physician believes the HIV Collaborative program is important because it strives to discover ways to improve treatment, decrease mortality and extend quality and length of life for HIV patients.
Other collaborative programs have concentrated on diabetes or depression but this was the first time an effort focused on HIV, he said.
Sherer credited the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for gearing the program to the Ryan White CARE Act grantees and funding the effort. He lauded work of Joseph O’Neil from HRSA who, like Sherer, is co-chairman of the HIV Collaborative.