Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Referral to Care for People Living with HIV in Appalachia
Introduction: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted on March 23, 2010 significantly impacted access to healthcare for people living with HIV (PLWH). Expansion of care was accomplished in three areas: eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions, elimination of lifetime caps on healthcare expenditures, and expansion of Medicaid eligibility.
Purpose: This study evaluated the impact of state implementation of the ACA Medicaid expansion on referral to HIV care at a Ryan White federally funded clinic in Kentucky (University of Kentucky Bluegrass Care Clinic [UK BCC]).
Methods: Retrospective chart review of all newly enrolled patients at the UK BCC between March 2010 and June 2017. Data included patient demographics and referral source, and were divided into two groups to compare enrollments before and after Kentucky implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion. Data were collected from 2018-2019 and analyzed in 2020.
Results: Following Medicaid expansion there were statistically significant changes in the patterns of referral to federally funded HIV care. These included a significant decrease in the proportion of referrals from state and local health departments, and an increase in both proportion of referrals from outpatient clinics and transfers from different HIV care providers.
Implications: These results have implications for engaging more PLWH into HIV care, particularly in states where patients have increased access to screening and assessment of risk at primary care encounters through implementation of the ACA Medicaid expansion.
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Wade CA, Crawford TN, Leedy N, Thornton AC. Impact of the Affordable Care Act on referral to care for people living with HIV in Appalachia. J Appalach Health 2020;2(2):49–55. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0202.05.
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