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AIDS agency to offer services for patients with other chronic diseases

The agency that has helped victims of HIV/AIDS for the past 30 years in central New York will soon be taking on a new responsibility. AIDS Community Resources will be a foot soldier in a revamped Medicaid system in New York state.

In the next month or so, ARC will begin offering case management services for Medicaid eligible individuals who don't necessarily have AIDS, but who have any chronic health issue.

It'll mean a name change for AIDS Community Resources, but more importantly, Executive Director Michael Crinnen says it will allow the agency do what it does best -- coordinate care for sufferers of a chronic disease, and hopefully keeping them out of the emergency room."I really feel good about these folks who don't have HIV, but who do have chronic diseases. We're going to be able to help them in a way they've never been helped before," said Crinnen.

He says it won't take away from the work the agency does with HIV patients, and might help in the long run.

"Psychologically, it'll probably really help a lot of folks we work with as they start to see their HIV in a broader context, as people begin to see it as a chronic disease and not an awful, acute, death sentence," he said.

Crinnen says they will hire more staff to take care of the extra workload.  New York state is essentially forcing the change, as the Medicaid Redesign Task Force is revamping the way the state deals with Medicaid eligible individuals who suffer from chronic disease, by connecting more community health organizations to serve patients. And, in the end, it will mean a bigger medicaid reimbursement check for New York state, as it meets requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.