Can I receive services if I am not HIV+, but someone close to me is infected?
Definitely! We work with those who are infected and affected by HIV in Vermont. Please speak with our Services Program Director.
Do I have a choice in HIV/AIDS case management services in Vermont?
Vermont CARES serves many of the counties in state, chiefly in the northern and western tiers. However, if you live in Windsor or Orange Counties, or simply prefer to explore service options, you can reach out to a more local resource: The HIV/HCV Resource Center for terrific care and prevention, as well as many regional syringe service programs. Similarly, if you live in the most southern counties, The AIDS Project of Southern Vermont is a regional AIDS service organization that provides direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS, and HIV prevention services to those at most risk in Windham, Bennington, and southern Windsor counties.
How do I know which health insurance to apply for?
Applying for the right health insurance can feel daunting, but there are many resources available to you and your family. Vermont has several free or low cost insurance programs for those that are income eligible and meet specific criteria.
- The Vermont Department of Health has outlined available insurance programs on their website. We recommend working closely with your Vermont CARES case manager as you explore the options.
- In addition, the Office of Health Care Ombudsman provides help to Vermonters that have problems and questions about health care and health insurance through a telephone hotline service: 1-800-917-7787.
What if I need help paying for my HIV medication?
The HIV/AIDS Medication Assistance Program (AMAP) in Vermont provides financial assistance for the purchase of prescription medications to Vermonters living with HIV who meet certain income guidelines. If you are eligible, this program may be able to help pay for certain HIV related medications whether or not you have private insurance.
Protease inhibitors and FDA-approved antiretrovirals are included on this list of medications. Periodically, new medications are added to the list through an approval process in consultation with the AMAP Advisory Committee, which is made up of HIV+ individuals and medical professionals. The full list and a detailed description of this program can be found by clicking here.
Your current insurance may also assist in paying for your medications. Please ask your case manager to help you figure out what insurance coverage you may need to apply for in order to have coverage for your medications.
How do I receive emergency assistance? What if my heat is being turned off?
Speak with your case manager and work with him or her on a budget to determine what you can afford, based on your income and expenses.
Because we have limited emergency assistance funds, we ask that you seek out other assistance for the payment of telephone, fuel, electricity, rent, and medical payments. The Office of Economic Opportunity in your area often assists with such payments.
After you determine your ability to pay some of the bill and have sought out additional financial assistance, you and the case manager may be able to work out an amount to request from our emergency assistance fund. In order to process a request, we need the following in your current file; copy of the shut off notice or bill, HIV status, copy of current income, copy of lease or rental income, and copy of your household budget.
Your case manager will fill out the required paperwork and ask you to sign it if necessary. Many of these funds have annual limits per person, so you and your Vermont CARES case manager should discuss these limits while working out a payment plan.
What do I do if I run out of food?
We ask that you first visit your local food shelf. There are many throughout Vermont and you can find a listing of them on the Resources page. If transportation is a barrier, your case manager may be available to make the trip with you.
In addition, throughout the summer and early fall months, we collaborate with Healthy Cities in Burlington, Vermont. The program provides us with fresh produce, harvested weekly, for about 10-12 families in the area. Please let your case manager know if you are interested in signing up for this program as it is extremely popular.
Our Services Program, through funding from the Ryan White Act, also provides food gift certificates to income eligible clients in limited amounts throughout the year. Please ask your case manager about this option.
What if I already have a case manager with another HIV/AIDS service organization?
You may call to set up an intake meeting with our Services Program Director at any time. However, please let her know that you are currently working with another agency and that you would like to switch. We will ask for a release for the agency that you worked with so that we can better assist with your transition to another case manager and agency. Also, note that any emergency assistance that you used at your former agency also may count toward certain funds limits at Vermont CARES. If you have another case manager, such as with a mental health center, we will collaborate with them regarding your service coordination.
What if I have a conflict with a case manager that I am having difficulty resolving?
The first step in resolving a conflict would be to call the Services Program Director. She will request a meeting with both the client and the case manager, separately if necessary, to determine the nature of the issue. These initial meetings usually lead to a better working relationship and clearer communication.
If these meetings do not lead to resolving an issue, the Services Program Director, may in unusual circumstances, reassign a different case manager. Also, the client may file a formal grievance regarding the incident. Grievance procedures are discussed during the initial intake and also outlined in our Client Services Handbook. We work very hard to address any barriers to care that clients may experience and to address and resolve any conflicts that may arise. New clients sign this handbook and are given a copy to reference.