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SEATTLE - (March 6, 2009) — With today's difficult economic times and government shortfalls at catastrophic levels, organizations that rely on philanthropy and government funding are taking advocacy efforts to new levels. At Bailey-Boushay House, the nation's first skilled nursing facility to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, staff and supporters are using social media and grassroots advocacy to keep funding intact.

Facebook and Craigslist are two methods staff and supporters are using to energize advocates and encourage efforts to "Save Bailey-Boushay."  The Bailey-Boushay House Facebook page encourages people to become fans and support its funding cause. The Craigslist post encourages people to call the Legislative Hotline and become a Facebook fan of Bailey-Boushay House. In addition, more than 60 clients and supporters traveled to Olympia two weeks ago to show their continued support for Bailey-Boushay House.

Funding for Bailey-Boushay House's outpatient programs is in danger of being eliminated from the 2009-11 State of Washington budget. Although funding for Bailey-Boushay's outpatient clients is included in the Governor's 2009-11 budget, Washington state faces unprecedented revenue shortfalls. It is expected that cuts will be deep and no program will go unscathed.

"Keeping Bailey-Boushay's funding intact is the number one public policy goal for Virginia Mason this year," said Kathleen Paul, Virginia Mason's vice president of communications and public policy. "If sufficient funding is not secured though, outpatient programs would be in danger of closing, and additional financial pressure would be placed on the skilled nursing component of the facility. The future of the organization is in jeopardy without needed support."

"We urgently need the help of supporters to contact the Legislative Hotline to Save Bailey-Boushay and get the word out about sustaining this invaluable community resource," said Brian Knowles, executive director of Bailey-Boushay House.

Bailey-Boushay operates a highly successful medication management program with a 97 percent adherence rate; compared to less than 50 percent adherence in similar populations. The program depends on a multidisciplinary approach including group and individual counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, chemical-dependency counseling, meals and dietary counseling. Eliminating even one of the supporting elements of the medication management program will decrease the program's overall effectiveness. Some clients will fail to successfully treat their disease and seek higher levels of health care at increased costs. Further, non-adherence to HIV medications poses a public health risk since individuals develop a virus that is resistant to medications and harder to treat when passed to others.

About Bailey-Boushay House
Bailey-Boushay House, opened in 1992, is America's first skilled nursing facility that was planned, funded, built and staffed to meet the needs of people living with AIDS. The nationally-recognized facility provides care for people living with HIV/AIDS and other complex, life-threatening diseases promoting their health, well-being and functional independence. Bailey-Boushay is operated by Virginia Mason Medical Center.

For media inquiries only, contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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