We are currently thigh high in all manner of expansion: physical plant, new programs and lines of business, an expanded client base, and a name change (note the new masthead). “Upheaval” might best describe our current reality… and it’s all good…
Participating in the state-wide Health Home model (all about ‘Medicaid redesign’), accounts for the bulk of activity and change.
What it boils down to is, while we will continue, as a priority, to provide comprehensive services to people living with HIV/AIDS, we will be adding Medicaid eligible individuals with other chronic disease conditions to our care management. Over 30 years we’ve become expert in navigating all the obstacles someone with a life threatening condition lives with: what we have done well for our HIV clients all these years, we will be offering other struggling individuals who have never had these kinds of services and assistance.
To be completely transparent, we had no choice in the matter if we wanted to continue serving people living with HIV/AIDS: it was “Grow and change or die”. We went with the, let’s live with this new reality and all its uncertainty – just like our HIV clients have taught us through their example – and do a bang up job for more people in need.
To that end (and there is a lot more I could and will say at a later time about the whole Health Home initiative), we are now doing business as, ACR Health: Access Care and Resources for Health. So while legally we will remain AIDS Community Resources, Inc., we will operate simply as ACR Health.
In my soon-to-be 24 years as Executive Director, this will be the agency’s 3rd name. In the earlier days, as the disease showed no signs of abating, our name changed from its original short-term sounding, “AIDS Task Force”, to the more established reality of a, “Community Resource”, and now as HIV/AIDS, with proper diagnosis and treatment, is being viewed as more chronic than fatal, ACR is about ‘Health’ and wellness and no longer just disease management. It’s time that our name reflects this new reality.
Our current HIV+ clients are very happy with the new name; prevention clients (those at high risk of HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis C), who come here for our various behavior change initiatives, are happy with the change; staff are happy with the name change – all acknowledging the powerful stigma that an “AIDS” label continues to wield, keeping infected and at risk people from seeking help – from entering our doors. Why stigma continues to thrive is another whole reflection.
Health care in our country is changing dramatically, and I believe for the good. ACR intends to be a major player, especially on behalf of those HIV positive individuals we have always served. Making room to help others looking to navigate their way to improved health is a challenge we’re more than ready to accept, and a challenge I know those we have lost to AIDS over our history would celebrate. Their legacy lives on as the foundation of who we are and who we serve.
It’s all good…
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