Desert AIDS Project
(760) 323-2118

Desert AIDS Project Community Action Newsletter


In This Issue

Community Center schedule update

Support groups, yoga, reiki, massage, haircuts, computer lab, movies, pizza! Those are just some examples of the plethora of activities the D.A.P. Community Center has to offer every week...and it's all free! The weekly schedule has just been updated and you owe it to yourself to see what's available. Find the new schedule here.

Enter to win FREE tickets to Mid-Summer Dance Party

Desert AIDS Project is giving away 30 free tickets to the Mid-Summer Dance Party. Registered D.A.P. clients can enter by emailing or calling Ray Robertson in the Community Center and providing him with your full name and phone number. You can also stop by the front reception desk and enter. See the Community Center section below for Ray's contact information. Winners will be selected on Monday, July 21 at Noon.

Covered California enrollment assistance from EQCA

George Zander from Equality California (EQCA) will be here on Mondays from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the Community Center to help people with enrollment into Covered California. Open enrollment begins in October but George will be here to answer questions and help people sign up that have had certain life changing events that may qualify them to apply early (married, divorced, recently unemployed). More info available from George at EQCA Palm Springs/Inland Empire Office, 314 N. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, CA 92262, phone: 760.409.0208 or by email to:.

Back to Top

Why HIV drug costs are spiking under ACA

Since the start of this year, many people with HIV have experienced steep increases in the costs of antiretroviral medications. This isn’t just price-gouging, some public health advocates say — arguing it’s also a blatant attempt to discriminate against patients who need expensive treatments. The goal, according to these advocates, is to force people with HIV to choose other health plans or force their doctors to prescribe less expensive, and perhaps less effective, medications. Read more here.

Video: How does the immune system work?

Anyone living with HIV has certainly heard lots of discussions about the body's immune system...but do we really understand how the immune system works? Our friend and HIV activist Nelson Vergel recently posted a great five-minute video demonstrating the workings of the miraculous human immune system. Check out the video here.

Sustiva associated with increased suicide risk

Antiretroviral regimens containing Sustiva (efavirenz) are associated with a doubled risk for suicide in patients with HIV, compared with efavirenz-free regimens, finds a retrospective study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The drug's label already includes a warning about the risk for psychiatric events, including suicide, but it was uncertain whether the relationship was causal. Read more here andhere.

Back to Top

Social Security defines policy for same-sex married couples

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released new instructions on processing retirement and survivors applications filed by same-sex couples. These instructions let SSA recognize some non-marital legal relationships as marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to benefits, as well as process claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships. For more information, read the fact sheet "Important Information about Social Security Benefits for Same-Sex Couples."  You can also read more here.

Back to Top

Yes, YOU can impact how federal HIV monies are spent!

The Inland Empire HIV Planning Council (IEHPC) is the local policy-making body in charge of prioritizing services and allocating funds granted from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Desert AIDS Project is a grant recipient. Last year, more than 2,000 D.A.P. clients benefited from services funded by this program. On July 31 and August 1, IEHPC will convene its annual Priority Setting & Resource Allocation Summit from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM each day.  The Summit will be held at Riverside County’s Behavioral Health Auditorium at 850 E. Foothill Ave., Rialto, CA 92503. The community is invited to provide input on how the Ryan White monies will be allocated to various HIV services in our two-county region. This is your chance to help decide what's important to you and our community--come and let your voice be heard!  IEHPC is also actively recruiting consumer  members. The Summit is a good time to observe the Council in action and meet members. Visit www.iehpc.org or call 909.841.1360 for more information about the Summit or membership requirements.

Ryan White Program Survey, coming to your mailbox soon!

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program – one of D.A.P.’s largest funders -- will soon mail a satisfaction survey to most clients. A postage-paid envelope will be included. The survey is only sent to clients who have indicated they accept mail on their intake or update forms. So if your mailing preferences have changed, please contact your Case Manager, so we can update records accordingly. For clients who don’t receive mail, hard copies will be provided upon request at D.A.P. Surveys in Spanish are also available. If you have visited another agency funded by Ryan White in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties, you may receive multiple surveys, so look for the agency name at the top of the survey before completing it. Although the Ryan White Program will provide D.A.P. with a cumulative summary of comments and ratings, your responses will be completely anonymous. D.A.P. is eager to learn about areas where improvements can be made and this survey is a great opportunity to contribute your thoughts.

Client participation and survey response needed for upcoming Pathways to Health and Well-Being HIV Conference

You might remember the Pathways to Health and Well-Being HIV Conference in 2012 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The next Pathways Conference will be held on World AIDS Day, December 1, from 9:00 AM  to 4:00 PM, again at the Convention Center. As in 2012, this year's conference is headed by theRiverside County Department of Public Health HIV/STD Program with assistance from Bienestar, Desert AIDS Project, Get Tested Coachella Valley, and Riverside County Mental Health. But what is missing is… YOU!!Although Riverside County got lots of great comments from the evaluations collected at the 2012 conference, they want to make sure that the 2014 conference is just as good…or better. One important way to do that is to make sure that clients are adequately represented in the planning of the conference. To that end there is a ONE QUESTION survey for you to indicate which breakout sessions you would like to see offered this year. Please complete the survey so you can be a part of planning the topics covered at the conference!

Take the Coachella Valley Health Screening Survey; maybe win $50

This survey is conducted by Get Tested Coachella Valley (GTCV) and Health Assessment Resource Center (HARC). It should take about five minutes to complete. The survey includes questions on whether you have been tested for various health conditions, and reasons why you chose to get tested or not get tested. If you complete the survey, you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of TEN $50 Visa cards! So take a few minutes to take the survey now! 

Back to Top

People with higher muscle mass live longer

Maybe this will get you to the gym! UCLA research suggests that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to growing evidence that overall body composition -- and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI -- is a better predictor of all-cause mortality. Read more hereand here.

Back to Top

Keep track of healthcare reform changes

If you are on Medicare, it's important to keep track of ongoing changes in coverage and payment options.  Most importantly, the "donut hole" of Medicare Part D drug plan co-pays begins to close this year (see below).  Regardless of your current insurance situation, click here for a government website that provides some guidance regarding Medicare, Medicaid and other possible insurance options (albeit limited) for those living with disabilities and/or chronic health issues (pay particular attention to the Medicare and Timeline tabs).  And click here for an even more detailed summary.  (sb) 

ADAP may pay Medicare Part D premium

ADAP-eligible clients who have to purchase Part D prescription drug coverage may qualify to have their Part D premium paid by the State of California. Follow this link to the Part D Premium Payment Program Application. You can also call the State of California at 916.449.5900 for more information.  (jl) 

Help with Medicare

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families.  This includes information about original Medicare, Medicare Health Plans, Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Supplemental policies and Long-term Care Insurance.  The California Department of Aging (CDA) is responsible for statewide administration of SHIP, which is delivered through the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).  HICAP services can be accessed via a toll-free line at 800.434.0222.  The local HICAP counselor is located at the Mizell Center in Palm Springs and can be reached at 760.323.5689.  Follow this link for more information. 

Help paying for prescription medications

Among the resources available to HIV-positive people to help pay for prescription medications is NeedyMeds. The mission of NeedyMeds is to make information about assistance programs available to low-income patients and their advocates at no cost.  Go  to www.needymeds.org, look up the  medications you need and you'll be directed to the patient assistance program website for that manufacturer.  The site  also offers a free drug discount card that is accepted at more than 62,000 pharmacies.  If you are having trouble paying for your medications this site is worth a look!  (jl) (sb) 

Help paying for private health insurance premiums

If you or someone you are close to is HIV positive and paying for private health insurance, there may be help in paying premiums. The California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS (OA) administers the Health Insurance Premium Payment (OA-HIPP) Program.  OA has expanded OA-HIPP to make this program available to more individuals with health insurance who are at risk of losing it, and to individuals currently without health insurance who would like to purchase it.  You do NOT need to be a D.A.P. client to access OA-HIPP.  Follow this link to see if you qualify, and also check out the above links in the Healthcare reforms article. (jl) (sb)  

Quest Diagnostics website

Riverside County Healthcare (RCHC) Lab services are provided at both Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) in Moreno Valley and Quest Diagnostics.  All former LabCorps patients are now served at Quest.  Click here or above for the Quest website: locations, hours and to make an appointment. 

Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP) & AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)

For those who qualify, medical care and help paying for your medications are available through the MISP and ADAP programs.* Find out if you qualify: schedule an appointment by calling the numbers below. You can schedule your MISP and ADAP appointments together for Moreno Valley office ONLY. Call no sooner than four weeks before your ADAP qualifying expiration date (usually around your birthday). If you qualify for ADAP only, the local ADAP office is right across the driveway, south of D.A.P., at the Palm Springs Family Care Center. Specify the Palm Springs office when you call. Here are the numbers:

877.501.5085 - toll free
951.486.5375 - English
951.486.5400 - Spanish
951.486.4635 - fax

*NOTICE: Faxed MISP applications can get lost in the process. Many people who have faxed their application have had to re-apply later. It's best to apply in person in Moreno Valley, and get a "receipt of application", and use that as proof that you applied to avoid uninterrupted services with your D.A.P. medical doctor visits.

D.A.P. contact information

The Desert AIDS Project local phone number is 760.323.2118. The toll-free phone number is 866.331.3344 and the website is desertaidsproject.org.

DAPCAN back issues always available online

Need another look at something you read in DAPCAN? Find past issues online by clicking this link. As always, you can also read the most current edition of DAPCAN on the D.A.P. website at www.desertaidsproject.org/newsletter

D.A.P. holiday closings for 2014

January 20 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 17 — Presidents' Day
March 31 — Cesar Chavez Day
May 26 — Memorial Day
July 4 — Independence Day
September 1 — Labor Day
October 13 — Columbus Day
November 27-28 — Thanksgiving
December 25-26 — Christmas

Call 211 for essential human services in Riverside County

2-1-1 is a toll-free service for residents looking for information about essential human services such as affordable housing, food pantries, help for an aging parent, free or low cost health services, addiction prevention programs, employment, support groups, volunteer opportunities, and 1,700 additional services! (jl)

Back to Top

Your annual ADAP/MISP appointment

For those who meet income eligibility requirements, medical care and help paying for medications may be available through state MISP and ADAP programs. To qualify: call the numbers below and schedule an appointment. (You can schedule your MISP and ADAP appointments together for Moreno Valley office ONLY.) Call no sooner than four weeks before your ADAP qualifying expiration date (usually around your birthday). If you qualify for ADAP only, the local ADAP office across the driveway, south of D.A.P., at the Palm Springs Family Care Center. Specify the Palm Springs office when you call and make sure you have all documents required! Delays can cause lapses in drug coverage.

877.501.5085 - toll free 951.486.5375 - English
951.486.5400 - Spanish/espanol 951.486.4635 - fax

Unfortunately, it's sometimes difficult to get through to make appointments by phone. We were recently notified that there is now an individual at Window 2 next door at the Palm Springs Family Care Center that can schedule appointments and process demographics changes. If it is more convenient, you can walk next door to schedule your MISP/ADAP appointment in person. (jl)

Back to Top

Let Disability.gov guide you to information you need

Are you looking for information about how much work you need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, or how to apply for benefits? Are you searching for an affordable place to live, or want to find ways to make your home accessible? Do you need help finding a job, or want to learn how working might affect your Social Security disability payments? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then check out these guides on Disability.gov:

Disability.gov's guides answer many of the most frequently asked questions about eligibility for disability benefits, locating job training services, as well as housing assistance programs for individuals with disabilities. In addition, Disability.gov’s Guide to Getting Help in Your Community has information about programs and organizations near you that provide other services and supports, including health care, temporary financial assistance for families, and help paying home heating bills. (jl)

Back to Top

Get Social Security forms online

A reminder that starting in February, form requests for proofs of income and Social Security numbers will not be available at local Social Security offices as in the past. Now you must go online for those documents at socialsecurity.gov or call 800.772.1213. Remember that the forms can be printed out immediately but phone requests will take approximately seven days to receive by mail. You need these forms not only for Social Security, but also to apply at D.A.P., for ADAP and MediCAL, most updates and other insurance and eligibility requirements. If you have no computer, you may use the computer lab at D.A.P. and print your forms there. (sb)

Back to Top

New Fact Sheets available to help with ACA questions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a series of easy-to-understand consumer fact sheets for those who are enrolling or have newly enrolled in healthcare plans through the ACA marketplace. A list of topics, with links to the fact sheets, is available here. (ej)

Back to Top