HIV case management changing hands

County transferring duties to nonprofit based in Portland

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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Clark County Public Health is handing over its medical case management of people living with HIV to the nonprofit Cascade AIDS Project.

Public health provides case management for 320 HIV-positive Clark County residents. But by the end of June, all of that work will have been handed over to the Portland-based nonprofit.

The state health department distributes money to agencies for HIV case management. Historically, only one local organization — Clark County Public Health — received the money. This year, however, the department awarded the money to both public health and Cascade AIDS Project. This was the first year the Portland nonprofit applied for the money, said Kristi Addis, the agency’s Southwest Washington program manager.

“CAP has only been doing prevention services in Clark County for the last six years,” she said. “We want to get more involved in Clark County.”

During that time, CAP staff has worked a couple days a week out of an office in the county’s Harm Reduction Center on East Fourth Plain Boulevard. Because the nonprofit is expanding its services and staff, they’re relocating to PeaceHealth’s Memorial Health Center campus on Main and 33rd streets. They’ll have nine employees at the office.

The case management program helps people living with HIV to connect to medical services, such as primary care providers and medication, as well as support services, such as housing, transportation, food and mental health counseling. The services are free for clients.

Clark County Public Health made the decision to hand over case management to the nonprofit because the total amount of awarded money wouldn’t allow the county to provide the level of services necessary to serve its clients, said Janis Koch, chief performance officer at Clark County Public Health. The county also receives federal funding to provide additional assistance services, she said.

Public health will remain involved with case management, however. A public health nurse will be available to CAP clients two days per week. The county will also continue to operate its needle-exchange program and partner with the nonprofit for sexually transmitted disease testing.

“We’ll still be involved in HIV prevention,” Koch said.

CAP will continue its prevention service as well and hopes to increase STD testing hours and community outreach, Addis said.