USF and Clear Health Alliance join forces to offer quality HIV/AIDS care to Medicaid patients

Tampa, FL (August 13, 2013) – Clear Health Alliance, a Medicaid plan with a designated specialty for HIV/AIDS, offered by Simply Healthcare Plans, has partnered with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, to provide coordinated, quality care to the HIV/AIDS population in the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida.  The new alliance, joining academia and managed care, will work with community providers and grassroots organizations, including the Hillsborough County Health Department (DOH-Hillsborough), to effectively meet the comprehensive and specialized needs of underserved Medicaid patients living with HIV/AIDS.

The extensive network of specialists at the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, will consult with Clear Health Alliance to help guide the integrated treatment of Medicaid patients with HIV/AIDS.  USF infectious disease faculty attending physicians will be the primary care physicians for Clear Health Alliance HIV/AIDS patients visiting the DOH-Hillsborough Specialty Care Clinic.

Clear Health Alliance is the first and only Medicaid plan with a designated specialty for HIV/AIDS in the region.   The plan’s provider network includes HIV/AIDS trained primary care physicians and specialists. Members also receive “high-touch” service from individually assigned, experienced HIV/AIDS care coordinators who guide them in their medical treatment and provide assistance in meeting many other needs specific to their disease.  Earvin “Magic” Johnson, HIV/AIDS advocate and Simply Healthcare investor, has made several visits to Florida meeting with local community based organizations and HIV/AIDS providers in efforts to ensure medical services reach ethnically diverse urban communities with high rates of new cases of HIV/AIDS. “Expanding access to comprehensive quality care for people living with HIV/AIDS will help ensure these patients get tested, know their status, get into treatment and stay in treatment,” said Johnson.

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Dr. Douglas Holt, director of USF Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine and director, Hillsborough County Department of Health

“USF has long been an academic leader in advancing HIV research and care, including contributing to discoveries that have led to more effective antiretroviral therapies,” said Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the USF Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine and director of DOH-Hillsborough. “We look forward to sharing our expertise with Clear Health Alliance and their providers to further improve the health of Floridians living with HIV/AIDS.”

“Together, we have created a team that provides a unique managed care partnership focusing on high-touch, high-quality medical services that maintain the health of Medicaid patients living with HIV/AIDS and help to reduce transmission of the disease,” said Marianne Finizio, Clear Health Alliance’s Executive Vice President. “Clear Health’s expertise and knowledge of Medicaid, and ability to coordinate the social, healthcare and behavioral healthcare needs of HIV/AIDS patients, is absolutely critical.”

In addition to regular Medicaid benefits such as prescription drugs and doctor visits, members of the Clear Health Alliance health plan receive expanded services tailored to their treatment needs such as non-emergency transportation, adult dental care, over-the-counter medications and supplies, eyeglasses and vision care, home delivered meals and nutritional counseling.

In the last three months, Clear Health Alliance has received approval from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to expand its services from Miami-Dade County, to Broward, Palm Beach and eight additional Florida counties in the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida area – Brevard, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Orange,  Osceola and Seminole.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that federal funding for HIV/AIDS in 2012 was approximately $28 billion. Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Florida Annual Report published by the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of HIV/AIDS. The Florida Department of Health also reports that 135,000 people with HIV/AIDS are living in Florida, and 75 percent of the state’s HIV/AIDS cases are reported in Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk and St. Lucie counties.

For information on how to enroll in Clear Health Alliance, Broward County residents can call Florida Reform Choice Counseling toll-free at 1-866-454-3959 or go to www.floridamedicaidreform.com; residents in all other counties can call Medicaid Options toll-free at 1-888-367-6554 or go to www.medicaid options.net.

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Clear Health Alliance, a Medicaid plan with a designated specialty, offered by Simply Healthcare Plans, includes a wide array of benefits and services and care coordination for individuals with HIV/AIDS. In addition to regular Medicaid benefits such as prescription drugs and doctor visits, members receive bundled services tailored to their treatment needs such as non-emergency transportation, adult dental care, over-the-counter medications and supplies, eyeglasses and vision care, home delivered meals and nutritional counseling. For more information, visit www.clearhealthalliance.com.

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Simply Healthcare Plans, Inc. is a Florida licensed health maintenance organization headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida with additional offices in Sunrise and Tampa. Established in 2010, Simply Healthcare and its affiliates, Clear Health Alliance and Better Health, LLC,  serve approximately 250,000 Medicaid and Medicare  recipients in 40  Florida counties with the support of 7,000 healthcare providers. For more information, visit www.simplyhealthcareplans.com.

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USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit www.usfcenter.org.

Media Contacts:
Pam Gadinsky, Director of Communications, Simply Healthcare
305-921-2652, or pgadinsky@simplyhealthcareplans.com

Anne DeLotto Baier, Director of Public Affairs, USF Health Communications
(813) 974-3303, or abaier@health.usf.edu