The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin is merging with a Denver-based HIV/AIDS advocacy nonprofit called Rocky Mountain Cares, the organizations announced recently.
The merged organization will be headquartered in Milwaukee.
The ARCW, located at 820 N. Plankinton Ave., is a Wisconsin health care system designed specifically for patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. It offers integrated medical, dental and mental health care at its network of clinics and also offers certain social services. The organization runs food pantries, a legal program and a social work case management program. ARCW estimates it cares for more than 3,300 patients in Wisconsin.
The ARCW currently operates the only HIV medical home approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. RMC's merger with ARCW marks the Denver HIV/AIDS advocacy group's shift toward offering direct clinical care — the group plans to adopt ARCW's primary care model and open a similar HIV medical home in Denver.
“Denver and RMC are tremendous leaders in the fight against AIDS,” said ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Gifford in a statement announcing the move. “Our merger will help build upon the incredible work already well underway by bringing the successful HIV Medical Home model of care to Denver, helping to enhance and increase access to care, attract and retain more patients who are not currently in care or have fallen out of care, and ultimately and most importantly, help people with HIV live long, healthy lives.”
The organizations began discussing a merger more than 18 months ago, according to Shannon Southhall, executive director of RMC.
Though the merged organization will operate as a single entity, it will continue to use the name RMC in Colorado and ARCW in Wisconsin.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the location of the merged organization's headquarters. The organization will be headquartered in Milwaukee.