AID Atlanta is changing up its business model to accommodate changes to the healthcare system through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act with the help of Deloitte, a global private financial consulting firm.

The engagement with Deloitte aims for AID Atlanta to become the first-ever AIDS service organization in the region with an integrated health setting to effectively merge both the behavioral and medical health model all under one roof, commonly known as a medical home model, said AID Atlanta’s new CEO Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Diaz.

“The importance of this to the community is that with all the changes happening with the ACA and the political environment we may be coming into in November, we need to find ways to diversify our funding stream … by getting ahead of the curve,” Rodriguez-Diaz told the GA Voice.

For example, funding for the federal Ryan White Act may not be authorized, Rodriguez-Diaz said. And if it were to be defunded or the funding reduced, this new strategic plan with Deloitte will allow AID Atlanta to remain open and continue to provide the level of services it always has, he said.

Deloitte comes into play by being committed to help AID Atlanta―at no cost to the agency―develop a broad business plan that “supports its integrated healthcare goals and results in a fiscally sustainable model,” Rodriguez-Diaz explained.

The partnership between Deloitte and AID Atlanta was made possible with the help of Chip Newton, senior manager with Deloitte and chairman of the AID Atlanta board of directors.

“This pro bono agreement is Deloitte’s largest one globally at the moment,” said Joey Helton, director of development.

What the business plan includes

AID Atlanta is looking to launch a new wellness center, offer chiropractic services onsite, offer primary care, its own x-ray services, a dentist and even have a pharmacy. These services will enable the agency to become a “medical home model”―a place where a patient can receive many of the services they need.

The “home model” means a more broad wraparound set of services that will seamlessly integrate behavioral and mental health into our primary care services, Rodriguez-Diaz explained.

“This will allow the agency to expand its behavioral health services to support chronic disease management. As HIV has become a more manageable chronic disease, we have to expand our scope of work and endeavor to treat each member holistically. At AID Atlanta we are striving to take the agency to a place where we can provide an array of integrated medical and mental health services designed to improve health outcomes and quality of life,” said Rodriguez-Diaz.

Currently AID Atlanta serves about 300 people in its wellness clinics and the agency hopes expand that number to 1,500. In case management, AID Atlanta serves 1,400 patients and wants to expand to serve 3,000. With behavioral health, AID Atlanta  has about 264 patients and plans to expand to serve 3,5000, Rodriguez-Diaz said. “Deloitte helped us calculate and determine the capacity,” he added.

AID Atlanta will continue to serve primarily those with HIV/AIDS and especially those who will find themselves unable to afford healthcare despite ACA because Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal refused to expand Medicaid.

AID Atlanta receives approximately $3 million in Ryan White funding annually. Rodriguez-Diaz said no one will be turned away for services. AID Atlanta’s annual budget is $7.6 million and provides services to some 50,000 people each year.

“Seventy percent of our funding comes from the government and 30 percent comes from community. The biggest portion of that 30 percent is from the AIDS Walk, and then also Cotillion and other fundraisers,” Helton said.

The plans underway does mean expansions are being made to the AID Atlanta location on Peachtree Street but there are no immediate plans to relocate, Rodriguez-Diaz said.

The new plans means AID Atlanta will soon be hiring, doing more more community work, for example, at the Rush Center and Health Initiative. Plans are to expand on women’s health, Latino community outreach and health and trans health, Rodriguez-Diaz said.

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