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AIDS Community Resources becomes health-home agency

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More initiatives, programs, clients and upcoming responsibilities as a health home means AIDS Community Resources needs more space.

Michael E. Crinnin, executive director of the Syracuse-based nonprofit, said a 500-square-foot office space at 230 Franklin St. offers little privacy and lacks personal space for each employee and program. The agency soon will move to a 1,400-square-foot space on the third floor of the former HSBC building, 120 Washington St.

“It filled quick,” Mr. Crinnin said of the current office. “There are five spaces, but one’s a group meeting room, a testing area, and we have four (staffers) in one room and two in another. Finding private space with a client is difficult. It’s been a problem, and now we’re resolving it.”

The agency offers case management, treatment adherence, HIV testing, transportation, housing, youth development and other services through its Watertown office.

“A lot of this change is triggered by the health home,” Mr. Crinnin said. “It’s a new model the state adopted for people living with chronic disease who are on Medicaid. It’s a part of Medicaid redesign. It’s a concept of ‘Let’s connect everyone who engages in this person’s health.’”

With AIDS Community Resources labeled as a health home, it will help promote clients’ health and try to keep them out of hospitals and emergency care, which are “the most expensive alternatives.”

The health-home model recognizes many aspects that may contribute to a person’s health, including poverty and inadequate housing and transportation. Moving toward this model means the state no longer will support agencies such as AIDS Community Resources having targeted case management. That means the agency will serve more clients than just those with AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Mr. Crinnin said the Medicaid reimbursement structure will change from per visit to per person, per month. Clients will be reviewed and get an acuity score, which will determine the level of help they need.

Another change will be with the agency’s name. While the letters ACR will not change, the agency will be known as Access, Care and Resources for Health, or ACR Health for short.

Although the Watertown office is evolving, Mr. Crinnin said, the agency is “committed, as we’ve always been, to serving people with HIV/AIDS.”

For more information, call the ACR office at 785-8222.

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