HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced today that the Department of Health
and Human Services began notifying the first eligible families that will
receive payments from the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund.
The initial recipients are being notified via letters as applications are
approved, consistent with the process established by HHS' Health Resources and
Services Administration (HRSA), in consultation with The National Hemophilia
Foundation, The American Federation of Hemophiliacs and the hemophiliac
advocacy group, The Committee of Ten Thousand. The application and payment
process was developed by HRSA to assure that funds will be made available to
eligible individuals as quickly as possible. More than 4,300 petitions were
received since July 31, the first postmark day that petitions were accepted.
Approximately 670 recipients will receive compensation with fiscal year 2000
"Congress should act now to fulfill our obligation to those who contracted HIV
through contaminated blood products during the 1980s," said Secretary Shalala.
"Now, that the distribution system is in place, we will redouble our efforts
to encourage Congress to fully fund the Rick Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund so
that all of the estimated 7,500 eligible individuals can receive
The Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund was authorized in 1998 to provide
compensation payments of $100,000 to individuals with blood-clotting
disorders, such as hemophilia, who contracted HIV from contaminated
anti-hemophilic blood products between July 1, 1982 and
Dec. 31, 1987. Spouses and children who contracted HIV from these individuals
and certain survivors may also be eligible. In 1999, the Clinton-Gore
administration worked with Congress to achieve a $75 million appropriation for
fiscal year 2000.
"This is an important first-step towards fulfilling our commitment to helping
people with hemophilia who have contracted this serious disease, " stated John
D. Podesta, chief of staff of the President of the United States. "But," he
said, "we must do more and enact the President's proposal to fully fund the
Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund for 2001."
The Clinton-Gore administration requested $100 million in the fiscal year 2001
appropriation bill, and $475 million in its proposal to restore Medicare
provider payment reductions enacted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which
would assure funding for the $750 million authorized under the act to
administer the program and compensate the estimated 7,500 eligible
For more information on the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund contact HRSA's
toll-free information line at