by Terry Lee Derrick
Vintners 2005: An Evening of Wine and Roses is the name of this year’s fundraiser for the Comprehensive Care Center at 6:00 pm Friday August 12 at the War Memorial Auditorium downtown.
Although there will not be a screening of the classic movie starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick (to which the “youngins” are scratching their heads going “whaaa?”) there will be a wine tasting and judging along with some education opportunities for wine enthusiasts. A silent auction will be featured and from past experience I know there are some great items up for bid that are often valued much higher than the bids that take them. Also, there will be a selection of honorees for community service in the area of HIV/AIDS.
The CCC is a crown jewel of health care facilities for Tennessee along with its satellite clinics around the mid-state area; and a national model for HIV clinics everywhere. Over the years since its inception the CCC has come to embody state of the art health care for HIV/AIDS with its affiliation to Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for AIDS research and the Vanderbilt AIDS Clinical Trials Center. Having access to the latest research and development at its disposal CCC has been invaluable in keeping people living with HIV healthy, with the additional benefit of keeping potential health care cost much lower than they would be if acute and critical care were needed.
With the changes to the TennCare program the level of uncompensated care will rise from $270,000 to over $2 million annually. More than 450 of its patients will lose coverage in the next month, and more than 350 will face prescription limits. Never has the CCC been forced to choose which meds they can prescribe or been forced to wait to prescribe meds for patients, but now they are faced with the possibility of such difficult decisions. All patients will still be able to see providers but where the money will come from for lab work and meds for many of their clients is unclear.
Last year the annual benefit raised about $60,000 – $29,000 of which came from “Pharma” or pharmaceutical companies. When asked if drug companies were able to exert any influence over care of patients because of their contributions Victoria Harris, Director of Education for the CCC, said they (the drug companies) frequently complain of inaccessibility to doctors as there are very strict guidelines protecting doctor/patient relationships from any outside interference. The goal of this year’s event is to raise at least $100,000. General admission for the event is $65, and host committee memberships are available at higher levels of support. For tickets call 615-321-9556 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Never has there been a time that the need for our support of the CCC been more acute. The gay community is not the only segment of Nashville and middle Tennessee that benefits from the services of the CCC, but our community benefits from it more significantly than others. Because of this, we need to come out in support of the CCC, with its incredible array of services that we cannot do without and are so fortunate to have in this part of the country. And who knows what other attractive and altruistic “hottie” you might share a fine cabernet with?