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The Houston Area HIV Service Ryan White Planning Council decides what services for people living with HIV are most needed in the Houston area, decides how much money should be used for each of these services , and develops a plan to provide the services. These decisions must be based on an evaluation of the needs of people living with HIV. The Planning Council has the responsibility to encourage, recruit, recognize, accommodate, and support the participation of people living with HIV on the Council.
The Ryan White Program provides Federal funds to develop systems of care and pay for medical / support services for people living with HIV (PLWH). It identifies who can receive this money and how the money can be used under 5 major parts: A, B, C, D and F. Part A funds go to areas hit hardest by the HIV epidemic (eligible metropolitan areas or EMAs). The grant goes to the chief elected official (CEO) of the major city or county in the EMA. In the Houston EMA, the CEO is the County Judge. The EMA is comprised of Harris and the 5 surrounding counties. Part B funds are awarded to the State and serve the HSDA which includes 4 additional counties. The Houston area receives appx. $24 million / year for services like: primary medical care, medication, dental care, mental health services, etc. Before an EMA receives Part A money the CEO must appoint a Planning Council. Houston’s Council is a 40 member volunteer planning group comprised of community members appointed to serve a 2-year term. The Council decides what services are most needed, how much money should be used for each service, and develops a plan to provide services. Decisions must be based on evaluation of the needs of PLWH. The CEO appoints members to the Council who have a wide range of perspectives and expertise including health care providers, public health officials, and people of various backgrounds. At least 1/3 of Council members must be PLWH. The Council Chair assigns members to work on 1 or more of the 5 standing committees.