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AHF to Supervisor Antonovich: Stop the De-Funding of Two AIDS Clinics By LA County

LOS ANGELES – An online e-letter-writing campaign spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) targeting Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (Fifth District-pictured) over the decision by LA County to de-fund two longstanding AIDS clinics in the Antelope Valley is heating up.

In addition to mobilizing its constituency to send more than 1,000 e-letters to the Supervisor—in whose districts the de-funded clinics are located—asking him to intervene and stop this potentially harmful action, the group recently published an ad in Sunday’s Antelope Valley Press to educate readers about the issue and encourage them to take action.

The ad features the message: “Action Alert! AIDS patients need your HELP. Send an e-letter or call Supervisor Antonovich (213) 974-5555. LA County is about to de-fund two longstanding AIDS clinics—one of which is a Los Angeles County-run clinic—which provide lifesaving services to patients in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles. Please call Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and ask him to intervene. You can also log onto www.aidshealth.org and send an e-letter to Supervisor Antonovich.”

“It is very likely that the de-funding of these two longstanding AIDS clinics in Antelope Valley—one run by LA County and the other by AHF—will cause a major disruption in medical care for patients who have come to rely on these clinics for the treatment that keeps them alive and healthy,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“These two AIDS clinics have a long history of providing excellent medical care and lifesaving services to patients in the Antelope Valley area and there is simply no good reason for County to choose to de-fund them.”

Added Weinstein: “For the continuity of patient care, it is vital that these clinics remain open and that these services remain accessible to patients in need. When it comes to HIV/AIDS care, a disruption in services—and the possible risk of patients dropping out of care as a result—can literally mean the difference between life and death.”

The de-funding of these two clinics came about as a result of a recent County Request For Proposal (RFP) process, in which—despite a long history of successfully and responsibly caring for Antelope Valley AIDS patients—the funding was denied to the AHF- and LA County-run clinics and instead awarded to Tarzana Treatment Center.

Tarzana Treatment Center was the subject of several Los Angeles Times stories last year when LA County Supervisors Antonovich and Yaroslavsky called for an investigation of the agency over inflated executive compensation (Executives draw huge salaries at L.A. nonprofit drug treatment center, Alan Zarembo) and excessive payments on leases for buildings owned by its own executives and board members (Tarzana nonprofit paid too much rent, audit finds, Alan Zarembo).

The Tarzana Treatment Center clinics that have been awarded the contract recently are also located in buildings owned by its own executives and board members.

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