Last January AIDS Resource Center Ohio (ARC Ohio) opened its Dayton Medical Center and Pharmacy with the vision of improving the health of patients living with HIV/AIDS in the Miami Valley. The onsite services offered by the center include HIV medical care, primary medical care, medical case management, support groups, and access to housing and other assistance alongside a full-service retail pharmacy.
During its first year, the medical center provided care to 374 patients, exceeding its goal of 300 individuals. The pharmacy filled prescriptions for 600 customers, also substantially exceeding its goal. The AMC Ohio Pharmacy is open to the general public and operates much like a commercial pharmacy. The difference is that 100 percent of the AMC Ohio’s pharmacy profits are used to supplement the costs of other services not fully covered by government grants or community donations—a relatively new approach to non-profit business sustainability and a local example of social entrepreneurship.
“The center is a best-practices model, providing patient-centered care that treats the entire individual. Wrap-around services are proven effective in supporting the full range of our patients’ needs, contributing to the clinical outcomes we are striving for,” says Rich Groger, MD, Medical Director of the ARC Ohio Dayton Medical Center.
“With early diagnosis and treatment, today a person with HIV can live a long and healthy life, and is far less likely to transmit the virus—if they achieve viral suppression,” says Bill Hardy, ARC Ohio President and CEO. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 1,500 HIV-positive individuals live in metropolitan Dayton, and another 300 are presumed infected, but not yet diagnosed. However, less than one-third of HIV-positive Americans and Ohioans are getting the care they need, which is why this center is so critical to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic locally.
“Once in care, we do whatever is in our power to keep that patient retained in care. Our goal is to get patients into care as quickly as possible after their diagnosis so that we can provide comprehensive treatment,” says Hardy. As a result of its patient-centered model, ARC Ohio patients are achieving viral suppression rates nearly three times the national average. This is tremendous news for the patient and their loved ones, and for the entire continuum of care. Remaining healthy reduces hospitalization and utilization of other, more costly services.
In addition to providing care to HIV-positive individuals, the Dayton Medical Center is also treating HIV-negative adults seeking access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a new HIV prevention approach where HIV-negative individuals at high risk of coming into contact with the virus use a once-daily pill (Truvada) to reduce their risk of becoming infected. PrEP is used along with other prevention methods, such as condoms, and when taken daily as prescribed, PrEP has been shown to be up to 99% effective in preventing HIV infection.
While a few other practitioners in the state are offering PrEP services, ARC Ohio is the only community-based organization providing this service as part of its continuum of care. The PrEP Clinic has been very successful with over 15 patients accessing the service locally since beginning in October. PrEP has gained national support from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and AIDS United, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in the US through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. “We view PrEP as an important tool in meeting the goal of reducing rates of infection as outlined by the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” added Michael Kaplan, President and CEO at AIDS United. “It’s time for PrEP to take its place among our other proven prevention methods.”
A $1 million capital campaign to cover Phase One of building out and equipping the Medical Center and Pharmacy was also successfully completed this January, with the final, and single largest, gift coming from Premier Health to close out the campaign. “Premier Health is supporting AIDS Resource Center Ohio’s Medical Center & Pharmacy project because it provides healthcare services in the most cost-effective and appropriate setting for the patients that they serve,” states Julie Liss-Katz, Premier Health Chief Government Affairs Officer. Other major campaign gifts included those from CareSource Foundation, The Dayton Foundation, Kettering Family Philanthropies, SC Ministry Foundation and Physician’s Charitable Foundation, as well as gifts from individual major donors.
The ARC Ohio Medical Center & AMC Ohio Pharmacy are located at the Wright Health Building 1222 S. Patterson Boulevard. You can reach the Pharmacy by phone at (937) 424-1440. They are open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.