Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) to voice concerns with the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) management of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. The senators requested that HRSA identify how it will correct the management lapses identified in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, to ensure that patients living with HIV/AIDS in the country receive the most effective treatment and care services they need.
The letter was written in response to a recent GAO report examining HRSA's oversight of the program. The report reflects growing concerns regarding HRSA's ineffective and inconsistent management of the program, particularly the most recent findings of the lack of a risk-based strategy within the agency to strategically prioritize site visits to grantees. The senators noted that these problems not only jeopardize the ability of the grantees to provide quality care for patients, but also create concerns about the effective use of taxpayer dollars.
"We are at a critical juncture in the fight against HIV/AIDS both in the United States and internationally and we must address these issues without delay in a transparent and accountable manner. We look forward to a strategic management plan, identifying the steps HRSA will take to implement GAO's recommendations," wrote the senators. "We also look forward to working with you to strengthen and improve the program at such a critical time in the history of the HIV/AIDS response."
The GAO report and letter are especially timely because the International AIDS Conference is scheduled to be held July 22-27, in Washington, D.C. The conference will bring together HIV/AIDS experts to discuss the advances being made in the path forward to halt the HIV/AIDS epidemic.