West Hollywood Mail Service -
7985 Santa Monica Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-0257 wehomail.com
Ready to take your life back from methamphetamine?
Our research group at UCLA is conducting a research study on the effectiveness of a medication (varenicline) to help people stop using methampheatmine. UCLA IRB# 11-001951 West Hollywood, CA 90046
866-449-UCLA (8252) meth.uclasarx.org/2012/08/ready-to-take-your-life-back-from.html
Sunset Walk-In Healthcare and Occupational Medicine Clinic PC
Urgent Care/Occupational Medicine/Travel Medicine/Chiropractic Care @ 9201 Sunset Blvd., Mezzanine Level M-155 - First 50 patients to mention WeHo News throughout January receive a free flu shot West Hollywood, CA 90069
Entéra - the Artist
SHARE THE FUN! With four minute cartoon portraits at your party or event, or full color cartoons done from emailed photos, INT
All Valley Painting & Maintenance
13872 Shablow Avenue, Sylmar, CA 91342
(818) 230-2800 AllValleyPainting.net
Bennett Ad Group: Best Rates: MEDIA BUYS TV-Radio/JINGLES/Commercial Production
8033 W. SUNSET BLVD. # 963 West Hollywood, CA 90046
FREE HIV TEST - 1 minute results
6210 W. Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028
8200 Santa Monica Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90046
Dr. Gary London
9201 Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069
House of DoleWhip
7901 Santa Monica Blvd #106 West Hollywood, CA 90046
Alpha For Men
8654 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, CA 90069
Fountain of Wellbeing
3835 Fountain Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 809-7447 Los Angeles, CA 90046
8016 Melrose Los Angeles, CA 90046
Dr. Nathan Newman
9301 Wilshire Blvd Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Personal Training With Luke Sholl
West Hollywood West Hollywood, CA 90046
Hollywood Social Media
(323)301-0002 West Hollywood, CA 90069
AntiAging Institute of California
9301 Wilshire Blvd Beverly Hills, CA 90210
7706 MELROSE AVE LOS ANGELES, CA 90046
Bridget Toomey - CFS Mortgage
123 N. Lake Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90064
Norton Avenue West Hollywood, CA 90046
Al and Ed's Autosound
8500 Santa Monica Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90069
AIDS Walk Los Angeles
3550 Wishire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90010
7978 & 8915 Santa Monica Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90046
Made in Los Angeles
18034 Ventura Blvd. #123 Encino, CA 91316
The Water Spot
7901 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, CA 90046
6252 Romaine Street Los Angeles, CA 90038
8720 Santa Monica Bl West Hollywood, CA 90048
Epic Mobile Detailing
Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, CA 91321
Goorin Bros. Hat Shop
7627 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Back to Total Health
1106 N. La Cienega Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
8424 Santa Monica Blvd Suite A508 West Hollywood, CA 90069
Michael Poles Photography | COMMERCIAL | EVENTS | HEADSHOTS | PORTRAITS |
323.874.8973 West Hollywood, CA 90046
Gay Therapy LA - Counseling Psychotherapy Coaching for Gay Men - Ken Howard, LCSW
8430 Santa Monica Boulevard Suite 100 West Hollywood, CA 90069
The Life Group LA
7985 Santa Monica Blvd #221 Los Angeles, CA 90046
MPGroup | CONSTRUCTION CONSULTANTS | FORENSIC EXPERT WITNESSES |
323.874.8973 West Hollywood, CA 90046
Blue Pacific Aesthetic
415 Pier Ave Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Dr. Michael Schwartz
960 East Green St. Pasadena, CA 91106
Maginn's Irish Coffee House
8470 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069
WeHo Copy Center
7710 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90046
Michael Poles Mediation | CONSTRUCTION | PREMISES LIABILITY | REAL ESTATE |
323.874.8973 West Hollywood, CA 90046
180 North Stetson Avenue, Suite 5300 Chicago, IL 60601
Albano's Brooklyn Pizzeria
7261 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046
AHF sues County Board of Supervisors
By WeHo News staff, West Hollywood, California
Never one to back down in a fight for people living with HIV/AIDS, Michael Weinstein, founder and President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), sued the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last month in a whistleblower's suit over AHF's objections to how the County handled its ‘California Bridge to Reform” project (designed to implement the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare) and "bogus audits" that smacked of vengeance.
AHF asserts that Los Angeles County and its officials have continually made false statements and claims to the Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) related to the funds they request from HRSA and allocation of those funds.
The non-profit HIV/AIDS treatment and advocacy group also claims that the County "manufactured falsified and bogus audits" that demand $1.7 million in overpayments be repaid by AHF into County coffers.
Michael Weinstein began AHF as a hospice care service for dying AIDS patients in 1986.
“The incompetence and improper and illegal governmental activity by Los Angeles County officials laid out in this lawsuit are simply breathtaking,” said Mr. Weinstein.
At its most fundamental, the dispute is about politics and money.
AHF has grown to become the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the US and is now a world-girdling organization with clinics up and down the West Coast and in Florida - it also provides cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 190,000 people in 26 other countries.
Mr. Weinstein knows how to access the funds necessary to treat people suffering from HIV/AIDS; people still recall him taking coffee can and clipboard up and down Santa Monica Boulevard asking for donations to “improve the care of people who were literally dying in the hallways of county hospitals or on the streets,” he says.
From those meager beginnings formed the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee, which was followed in February 1987 by the AIDS Hospice Foundation. The AIDS Hospice Foundation later became the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
One of the most important forms of funding for AHF’s mission, which is to provide health care to people regardless of their ability to pay, is the Ryan White funding.
The Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) administers the program and distributes Ryan White funds to so-called Eligible Metropolitan Areas (EMAs) nationwide through various public agency grantees.
In turn, local government bodies such as L.A. County disburse the funds to local HIV/AIDS provider grantees such as AHF through requests for proposals (RFPs) and other bidding procedures.
However, the AHF law suit asserts that the County must provide its AIDS funds in accordance with ‘maintenance of effort’ requirements that are set forth in the CARE Act and as dictated by the other funding sources, and they must also periodically report back to HRSA about the allocation of the funds once awarded.
Updated to include this higher up in the article: County officials, who would not speak on the record because of the litigation, expressed exasperation at the suit, saying that AHF failed to take into account the many moving parts involved in re-inventing a system and accusing Mr. Weinstein of using the confusion - and his own volatility - to carve out market share in a zero-sum game.
Zev Yaroslavsky is named in the whistleblower suit, along with Gloria Molina, the Board of Supervisors, the County itself and the County's public Health arm.
Yet Mr. Weinstein told WeHo News that the County failed that mandate in many regards.
“First of all,” he said, “the county has failed to spend all of the Ryan White CARE funds awarded in a timely and effective fashion.
“Then toward the end of each contract year they scramble to spend it, resulting in funds not being spent to maximize benefits to the HIV/AIDS patient population.”
On top of that, he charges, “County officials failed to provide AIDS funds in accordance with the ‘maintenance of effort’ requirements and officials misrepresented to HRSA where certain funds were to be allocated and how they would spend the funds that are awarded.”
To that charge, Mr. Weinstein says that the, “County grossly understates the amount it spends on administrative costs, and worse, county officials spent AIDS funds on building a lavish media center in their administrative offices that is not used in the care and prevention of HIV/AIDS.”
According to Mr. Weinstein, AHF repeatedly and publicly reported the deficiencies, misrepresentations and false claims that the County has made over the years to obtain such federal funds.
A little more than two years ago, in November, 2010, says the suit, in anticipation of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the California Department of Health Services (DHS) implemented a new state Medicaid program known as the ‘California Bridge to Reform.’
In particular, a Los Angeles County Bridge to Reform initiative called for the creation of a pharmacy network that would expand pharmacy access to patients with HIV/AIDS.
At roughly the same time in 2010, according to the law suit, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP), an administrative unit of the Department of Public Health, whose mission is “to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles County by preventing its spread, maximizing health and social outcomes, and coordinating effective and efficient targeted services for those at risk for, living with, or affected by HIV,” allegedly contacted the County Auditor Controller and asked it to conduct an audit on AHF based on what AHF contends was the “knowingly false assertion that AHF had not filed an allocation plan with DHSP.”
People in West Hollywood living with HIV/AIDS amount to between 11 and 14 percent of the total, or as many as 5,000, enough that AHF has one of its non-profit pharmacies in WeHo.
According to the law suit filed in December, “Typically, it is common practice for the Auditor Controller to use the allocation plan submitted by a provider such as AHF, and accepted by DPH and DHSP, as the standard to audit against.
"However," says the suit, "since DHSP told the Auditor Controller that AHF had no allocation plan, the Auditor Controller merely interpreted the AHF - Los Angeles County contract as they chose and applied an allocation plan they created.”
That apparently led to a draft report issued in September, 2010, that claimed AHF had over billed the County $1,752,439 dollars.
AHF accuses County health and elected officials of repeatedly brandishing the “bogus audit” to punish and provoke hostility toward their critics and divert AIDS funds to their favored providers.
Already having forced the LA City Council to write legislation accomplishing that goal through the threat of a ballot initiative, AHF turned its attention to the County Board of Supervisors, who did not blink.
They refused to create such a law, daring Mr. Weinstein and company to put it on the ballot.
According to Mr. Weinstein, the Board of Supervisors, and Zev Yaroslavsky in particular, took vengeance on AHF.
In February, 2012, as the suit says, the County’s Department of Health Services recommended in writing that the Board delegate them the authority to award the ‘California Bridge to Reform’ pharmacy administrator service contract – worth $75 million annually - on a non-competitive basis to Ramsell, a private company that provides pharmacy benefits management services.
“They pushed that contract through in just one day,” says Mr. Weinstein, who added that since County officials refused to follow the legally required competitive bidding rules, AHF was forced to file suit in state court seeking a writ of mandate.
But in June, 2012, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County apparently issued a ruling that the County had abused its discretion, compelling the County to void the contract with Ramsell and comply with the law in any further contracting for pharmacy administrator services.
Still, in May, 2012 (a month after AHF sued the County Defendants over the Ramsell contract, and when the condoms in porn campaign was gearing up), the Auditor Controller issued another report claiming that AHF owed the County over $1.7 million.
AHF asserts that the report failed cite to any document or authority that it used to support its findings and that, in fact, there was and remains no authority for the findings in the audit.
“It’s an ongoing campaign by the County to harass, intimidate and defame [AHF],” says Mr. Weinstein. "I deal with heads of state around the world, but none of them are as mean-spirited as the LA County Board of Supervisors."
He asserts that County officials pursued a phony audit, manufactured findings based on inaccurate information, and are now threatening to withhold over $1.7 million in payments to AHF for health services rendered.
The sign above the Out of the Closet store run by AHF on Santa Monica Boulevard at Havenhurst.
Furthermore, the law suit claims that Los Angeles County used the allegedly bogus audit to demand millions of dollars to retaliate for its blowing the whistle on the county’s misuse of federal money, and for its support for a condom law for porn actors.
Named in the suit are Los Angeles County, its Department of Public Health, its Division of HIV and STD Programs and other officials, including County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina.
The suit provides a look into how health care resources are allocated in the county using the example of the Antelope Valley.
According to court documents, until recently, the County allocated funding to AHF and other health providers in Antelope Valley.
However, in 2009, the County Defendants apparently pulled all funding from AHF.
Instead, the suit charges, County officials voted to allocate all funding in this area (approximately $1.2 million) solely to the Tarzana Treatment Center, an organization that primarily provides residential and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment services and which had less experience than AHF and other providers in the area at treating HIV/AIDS.
HIV medications are very expensive, with costs running as much as $50,000 or more per year.
However, AHF charges that Tarzana is a significant campaign contributor to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. AHF still offers patient care to people with HIV/AIDS without regard for ability to pay at a cost to other clinics, but the suit charges that by cutting AHF’s funding and handing to Tarzana Treatment Center the County did both AHF and HIV/AIDS patients harm.
“AHF addressed all of these matters to the various Los Angeles County offices and officials yet received little or no response,” said Tom Myers, General Counsel for AHF.
“Our correspondence to each of these bodies outlined their claims and damages as set forth in our lawsuit,” said Mr. Meyers, “including complaints about their false claims, mismanagement and lack of oversight, favoritism and DHSP’s bias against AHF in the allocation of AIDS funds, and we believe the retaliatory conduct the County continues to show toward AHF described here constitutes continuing a violation of our rights.”
Samantha Azulay, Assistant General Counsel for AHF, said, “The punitive measures laid out in our lawsuit were undertaken by the County of Los Angeles and County officials with the specific intent to chill AHF’s speech in order to disrupt our nonprofit activities,” said.
“The County’s retaliation against AHF and Mr. Weinstein for bold advocacy and honest criticism exposing government improprieties is a violation of our constitutional rights, and through this lawsuit we intend to hold the County fully accountable,” she asserted.
Updated to soften language: The County offices WeHo News contacted were prevented from saying anything on the record by virtue of the pending law suit. In fact, no one even spoke off the record or on background, let alone not for attribution, to provide WeHo News the lay of the land and the County's POV.
Each response was the same – “because of pending litigation, we cannot comment.”
In the meantime, Michael Weinstein and AHF leave their charges hanging in the air while the County awaits its day in court.
Editor's note: AHF is an advertiser on WeHo News. On Tuesday morning, we made changes to the article to make our depiction of the County's position more accurate and more complete. There is another side to this story, and we look forward to taking a look into that side's position once we have access to it.