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The Daily Tar HeelFriday, September 2, 19835A
By KAREN DUNN
Despite insurance and government
programs, the cost of treating AIDS
patients is putting a large dent in the
wallets of state hospitals, insurance
companies, and the patients them
selves, according to a study released
recently to the N.C. Legislative Study
Committee on AIDS.
The study showed that the average
cost per AIDS patient at North
Carolina Memorial Hospital totaled
$17,398 per patient for each visit,
which is about three times the cost
of care for non-AIDS patients, said
Kerry Kilpatrick, chairman of UNC's
Department of Health Policy and
Administration. Kilpatrick is a
member of the AIDS Working
Group, a group of researchers and
administrators who compiled the
study of the cost of AIDS.
Acquired immune deficiency syn
drome is characterized by frequent
hospital stays, since the virus weakens
the body's immune system.
NCMH's costs tend to be higher
than those of the national average
because some of the patients have
both AIDS and hemophilia, and the
hospital is also a hemophilia center,
the study said.
Thirty-one percent of NCMH's
AIDS patients have no insurance,
which leaves the burden of the costs
of treatment up to the hospital. The
discovery of AZT, a drug that bolsters
the immune system to extend the life
span of AIDS patients, made costs
increase further, said Richard Moore,
program . consultant with the N.C.
Division of Health Services. AZT
costs about $720 a month per patient,
or over $8,000 per yean
Costs are also rising in North
Carolina as the number of reported
cases of AIDS rises. Recent figures
show 598 cases in North Carolina
alone, and it is predicted that by. 1992
there will be 250,000 cases reported
nationwide, according to Evelyn
Blankenship of the N.C. AIDS
Control Program. 1987 estimates
predicted that by 1991 there will be
7 1 ,000 living persons with AIDS, and
in that same year, 54,000 deaths will
result from the AIDS virus. Those
estimates also predicted that hospital
bills in-1991. will 'total $80 to $160
The federal government helps fund
some of the treatments, but insurance
companies bear much of the burden
of the expense. Blue Cross Blue
Shield of North Carolina offers a
special non-group insurance policy
for AIDS patients, but the program
is extremely expensive for the com
pany, said Kathy Higgins, Blue Cross'
media relations specialist.
Sipe said Rustin told him that the
housing department printed the
information as it was given to them
by the parking and transportation
Residence Hall Association Pres
ident Jimmy Randolph said the
mistake bothered him.
"It's really disturbing that such a
blatant misrepresentation of policy
could be printed for such a long time
and not get noticed," Randolph said.
"I'm miffed at myself for not noticing
Randolph said if a new policy is
established which denies sophomores
permits, the administration will not
have a problem with student oppo
sition because freshmen will not see .
the policy as a change.
"A lot of freshmen look there (in
Hallways and Highrises) for the
answers," he said. "It's almost too
convenient that that's been in there
for the past (four) years." .
Randolph said, however, that he
didn't believe the mistake was inten
tional on the part of the housing
If there is an effort to eliminate
sophomore parking, Randolph said,
he hopes this year's freshmen "will
not passively sit by and let it happen."
DTH Board of Directors
needs student to fill post
The Daily Tar Heel's Board of
Directors is accepting applications for
a one-year undergraduate student
The board oversees the financial
side of the newspaper's operation,
which is funded in part by student
Any interested students should see
Kevin Schwartz, DTH general man
ager, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
in the DTH office in the Student
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