After a year-long formal review of the AIDS Network, state health officers said the nonprofit still has problems with how it operates and needs to fix everything by August.
Clients and former clients contend services there could and should be much better.
Local residents living with HIV or AIDS and their supporters picketed in front of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Tuesday.
They allege the state has been too slow on its oversight of HIV/AIDS services and that services from the AIDS Network aren’t up to snuff.
In fact, some said they have to drive to other cities for help.
Bob Bowers used the AIDS Network for four years before quitting because he couldn’t get the services he wanted.
“It’s important for folks to realize the fact that I have to drive to Milwaukee to access the same care and services I should be getting here in Madison, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be here in Madison,” Bowers said.
Greg Milward resigned from the board of the AIDS Network a year and a half ago. He also said he has problems with the way services are delivered, compared to the other AIDS agency in the state that gets public financing.
“There’s equitable funding. There are not equitable services,” Milward said.
At issue is how the AIDS Network, which sponsors the big annual AIDS ride fundraiser, disperses and tracks services to its clients in a 13-county region in south-central Wisconsin, including Madison.
“In very late 2007 it came to our attention that there were deficiencies,” said Seth Foldy, the state’s public health officer. (WHO WAS SLEEPING ON THE JOB TO MISS THIS!)
Four on site state visits since June 2008 led to 38 directives for corrective action. But nearly a year later, almost a third of them have yet to be fully met, WISC-TV reported.
Because of that, the state has granted the Network only “conditional” state and federal funding through September.
But it could have been worse.
“If we had not seen the rate of improvement that we did see on most of the items that we’ve been following, more drastic action would have been taken,” Foldy said.