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Cares Clinic’s Shift To Primary Care Concerns Some HIV-Positive Patients

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A group that provides life-saving medication and treatment for those infected with the HIV virus is planning to expand its services, to the concern of existing patients.

Cares Community Health was founded to help those in need more than 20 years ago, but now they say they’re ready to serve anyone who needs medical services.

Carolyn Boykin was diagnosed with HIV in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2006 that she made it to Cares.

“The doctors here are lovely and caring,” she said. “And their main goal and purpose is to help you deal with your situation.”

But the organization, one of the only dedicated to serving Sacramento’s HIV-positive population, is in the process of a huge change.

“If someone came here for care who was not HIV-positive, we would refer them out. Today that is no longer true,” said CEO Bob Kamrath.

He says Cares is transforming into Cares Community health.

“It became evident that there is a great need for primary in the community,” he said.

Kamrath says they’ve decided to branch out to everyone as more people find themselves insured by the Affordable Care Act.

“Just based on our marketing and things we are doing, that we will have more primary care patients than we will have chronic care patients,” he said.

Already they are seeing five to nine new non-HIV patients a day. They’ve purchased the building next door and added four new exam rooms.

But what about the 2,600 HIV patients receiving life-saving care? Some have told CBS13 privately they are worried.

“I don’t see that they have a reason to be concerned,” Kamrath said. “We have the best docs in the world. We are not going to reduce the access for HIV care.”

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