Kaiser Permanente Issues HIV Challenge
In response to the urgent need to increase the number of HIV-positive people getting effective, equitable care, Kaiser Permanente used the occasion of the January 26 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s Care Innovations Summit to issue a public challenge to other health care providers to increase access to HIV care and to improve health outcomes. In support of that challenge, Kaiser Permanente has offered to share its own widely acknowledged expertise, clinical tools, and provider and patient educational materials with any and all public or private providers, including community clinics. Video and related materials are available at kp.org/hivchallenge.
Kaiser Permanente’s achievements in HIV care are the result of three decades of commitment to HIV populations, during which it has treated more than 60,000 HIV patients, including a current HIV population of more than 20,000. During that time, Kaiser Permanente has virtually eliminated disparities among black and Latino HIV-positive patients for both mortality and medication rates, compared to 15 percent higher disparity rates nationally. Overall HIV mortality rates at Kaiser Permanente are half the national average, thanks to the fact that 89 percent of HIV-positive patients are provided HIV-specific care within 90 days of diagnosis, compared to a national rate of only 50 percent within one year.
Improved HIV testing and treatment for all groups is urgently needed to stem the continuing HIV epidemic, says Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He notes that one in five people with HIV don’t know they are infected “because access to effective prevention and care is insufficient.” These individuals, he says, “need to get into treatment because quality HIV treatment prevents others from getting infected” and enables infected patients to live longer, more productive lives.
To encourage other health care providers to take up the HIV challenge, Kaiser Permanente is offering to share its extensive HIV expertise, including programs that measure gaps in care; testing, prevention, and treatment guidelines; educational materials; and guides for creating multidisciplinary HIV care teams on the “medical home” model.