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AHF to FL Gov. Rick Scott: “You’re in Contempt!”

September 18, 2018

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 18, 2018--AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ), the parent organization of Positive Healthcare (PHC), a nonprofit agency providing medical care to over 2,000 Medicaid patients living with HIV in Florida for nearly two decades, today filed a motion seeking to have a Florida court hold Governor Rick Scott in contempt for his failure to comply with the September 5 th order of the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in and for Leon County, Florida, compelling him to make records of his schedule, calendar and other events—including campaign and fundraising events—publicly available to AHF within ten days.

As of close of business Monday (Sept. 17), no documents or records had been provided to AHF. And also late Monday afternoon, the Executive Office of the Governor filed an appeal of the order with the Court. However, Florida statute provides that such appellants must comply with court orders during the appeal process.

As a result, attorneys for AHF filed an Emergency Motion for Contempt and Sanctions (CASE NO: 2018-CA-001648 - Filing # 78024055 E-Filed 09/18/2018) against Governor Scott and the Executive Office of the Governor with the Court earlier today also asking that a hearing on the motion be held today.

“The Court granted AHF’s petition for Writ of Mandamus on our public records requests almost two weeks ago and we have yet to see a single document or record of any kind—no information on who he is meeting with, where he is traveling, campaigning and fundraising both in his official capacity as Governor and in his current Senatorial bid,” said Michael Kahane, Southern Bureau Chief for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Now, at the last possible moment, Scott’s office files an appeal, clearly intending to drag out the court order as long as they can, including until after the November election, if possible. Governor Scott, you are in contempt of the Court’s order. We have petitioned the Court to formally declare you in contempt and compel you to hand over and make public these records.”

On September 5 th, In a stunning rebuke to Governor Scott and a victory for public access to information about elected officials’ schedules, the Circuit Court granted AHF’s petition for a Writ of Mandamus, ordering the Governor to make records of his schedule, calendar and other events—including campaign and fundraising events—publicly available to AHF within ten days.

In July, AHF, the parent organization of Positive Healthcare, which has been providing critical health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Florida since 1999, filed a petition for Writ of Mandamus after its repeated public records requests to Governor Scott’s office were denied, falsely claiming that the records were officially exempt from disclosure.

Advocates from AHF and Positive Healthcare have been protesting—and trying to protest—Governor Scott after the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) failed to renew Positive Healthcare’s contract to cover Medicaid patients with HIV/AIDS in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, in essence a move denying critical healthcare coverage to those living with HIV/AIDS.

AHF has been calling out Scott in response to his and state Medicaid officials’ failure to renew an HIV care contract with AHF’s Positive Healthcare. AHF says the state’s move will recklessly disrupt care for a vulnerable population of over 2,000 Florida HIV patients.

AHF Files Second Petition for Writ Against Governor Scott Over Additional Public Records

Late last week, AHF filed a second public records request lawsuit seeking another Writ of Mandamus against Florida Governor Rick Scott over his failure to provide requested records of communications between the Executive Office of the Governor (EOG) and all other bidders—and their lobbyists—for Florida’s Medicaid AIDS care contracts in the state Agency for Health Care Administration’s eleven service regions. In an article on the new legal action, the Tampa Bay Times notes, “The list of lobbyists includes Dean Cannon, Al Cardenas, Mike Corcoran, Hayden Dempsey, Nick Iarossi, Fred Karlinsky, Larry Overton, Bill Rubin and Gerald Wester, among many others.”

The action was filed Thursday, September 13 th in the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, in and for Leon County, Florida (Filing # 77847313 E-filed).

Background on AHF, Positive Healthcare and Governor Scott

In late April, Florida Medicaid officials announced the awarding of Medicaid contracts, worth up to $90 billion, to five for-profit managed care plans, excluding several other companies, including Positive Healthcare, the only nonprofit healthcare provider that offers insurance coverage for the critical, sensitive healthcare needs of those living with HIV. As a result of the initial decision, several of the denied agencies, including PHC, filed formal protests with Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which manages the state’s Medicaid program, all challenging the state’s decision, citing severe defects in the RFP and decision-making process. Following the submitted protests, state Medicaid officials met with each of the denied agencies, and subsequently have provided settlements with a select list of the for-profit providers, while continuing to shut out PHC. Positive Healthcare is the only nonprofit agency focused on providing care to thousands of clients living with HIV in Florida who rely on this critical coverage to get the necessary care they need, by the doctors of their choice, to live a healthy life.

Scott’s irresponsible actions and lack of transparency occur while the state of Florida, and specifically Miami-Dade and Broward counties, remain the nation’s epicenter of the HIV epidemic. PHC currently offers coverage to those living with HIV in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which rank #1 and #2, nationally for reported cases of new HIV diagnosis.

The facts about HIV in Florida under Rick Scott’s tenure as Governor:

Nearly 5,000 people in Florida were infected with HIV in 2016 alone, which means one out of every eight new HIV infections in the United States occurred in Florida. South Florida leads the nation in new HIV diagnoses at 38.7 new infections per every 100,000 people. In contrast, the overall rate in the United States is 12.3 new infections per every 100,000 people. Nearly 136,000 Floridians are estimated to be living with HIV, but one in six is still not aware of his or her HIV-positive status. More than 30,000 Floridians currently living with HIV are not receiving care for their infection.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 988,000 individuals in 41 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180918005622/en/

CONTACT: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

FLORIDA:

Imara Canady, Regional Director, Communications & Community Engagement for AHF

Imara.Canady@aidshealth.org- 954.952.0258 mobile

or

NATIONAL:

Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF

+1.323.308.1833 work

+1.323.791.5526 cell

gedk@aidshealth.org

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA FLORIDA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEALTH AIDS INFECTIOUS DISEASES PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT PUBLIC POLICY STATE/LOCAL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES INSURANCE LEGAL

SOURCE: AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 09/18/2018 09:27 AM/DISC: 09/18/2018 09:27 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180918005622/en

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