Boston Planning Council
Planning Council members work with BPHC to assess needs and determine how to meet them across ten counties in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
Who is Ryan White
Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana. He became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, when his middle school expelled him due to his infection. Ryan was a hemophiliac and became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. When diagnosed in December 1984, doctors gave him six months to live. They said he posed no risk to other students. However, AIDS wasn't well understood and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers rallied against his attendance. Before White, AIDS was a disease widely associated with the male homosexual community.
A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued. Media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. He appeared frequently in the media with celebrities such as Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Phil Donahue. White lived five years longer than predicted and died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation.
The U.S. Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, shortly after White's death. Ryan White programs are the largest provider of services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States.
The act is the United States' largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS. The act improves availability of care for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured people AIDS victims and their families.
Unlike Medicare or Medicaid, Ryan White programs fund treatment when no other resources are available. As AIDS has spread, the funding of the program has increased. The Ryan White Care Act was reauthorized in 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009. The program provides some level of care for more than 500,000 people a year. The Ryan White programs fund local and state primary medical care providers, support services, healthcare provider training programs, and provide these organizations with technical assistance.
The Ryan White Treatment Modernization Act allows municipalities to form HIV Health Services Planning Councils. These councils implement services for persons with HIV/AIDS. Councils members include:
- representatives from health and social service providers
- public health officials
- AIDS service organizations
- affected community members including HIV positive individuals
Part A mandates a Planning Council to provide guidance on allocating funds. Boston already had a body well suited to become the eventual Planning Council: The Steering Committee of the Boston AIDS Consortium (BAC).
The Chief Elected Official of the EMA's largest city appoints the members of the Boston Ryan White Planning Council. The Mayor is the CEO of the EMA’s largest city and grantee for Ryan White Part A funds. Legislation charges the Ryan White Planning Council with the following responsibilities:
- Develop a comprehensive plan for the organization and delivery of HIV-related health services
- Establish service priorities for the categorical allocation of Part A funds
- Assess the efficiency of the administrative mechanism in rapidly allocating funds
- Assess the effectiveness of services
- Participate in the development of the Statewide Coordinated Statement of Need (SCSN)
- Establish methods for obtaining input on community needs and priorities. This may include public meetings, conducting focus groups, and convening ad-hoc panels