Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir January 22, 2019

Hill Happenings

Government Shutdown

Though the 116th Session of the United States Congress has begun, the government shutdown has now entered its 32nd day. The House has continued to pass a number of funding bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) bill which funds the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not taken up any of these bills since the President has said he will not sign them.

Yesterday, Senate Republican’s released the "End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act.” The bill includes funding for the remaining FY2019 funding bills. The bill includes the $5.7 billion the President requested for wall funding. The measure is unlikely to garner the required 60 votes needed to pass. 

NASTAD signed onto a letter to members of Congress and President highlighting some of the health impacts of the shutdown.

Committee Assignments

The Senate and House Committees are continuing to announce new assignments.

Senate Appropriations:

Republicans: Chairman Richard Shelby (AL)

Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS Members:

Republicans: Chairman Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Shelby (AL), Lamar Alexander (TN), Lindsey Graham (SC), Jerry Moran (KS), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), John Kennedy (LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Marco Rubio (FL), James Lankford (OK)

Democrats: Ranking Member Patty Murray (WA), Richard Durbin (IL), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Brian Schatz (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), Joe Manchin (WV)

House Appropriations Full Committee New Members:

Democrats: Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Ed Case (HI-1), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Norma Torres (CA-35), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

Republicans: Kay Granger (TX-12) Ranking Member,

House Appropriations Labor-HHS Members:

Democrats: Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Katherine Clark (MA-5), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nita M. Lowey (NY-17) - Ex Officio

Republicans: Ranking Member Tom Cole (OK-4),

House E&C Members:

Democrats: Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large), Robin Kelly (IL-2), Ann Kuster (NH-2), Donald McEachin (VA-4), Tom O'Halleran (AZ-1), Darren Soto (FL-9), Marc Veasey (TX-33)


E&C Health Subcommittee

Republicans: Ranking Member Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Fred Upton (MI-6), John Shimkus (IL-15), Brett Guthrie (KY-2), Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Billy Long (MO-7), Larry Bucshon (IN-8), Susan Brooks (IN-5), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Richard Hudson (NC-8), Buddy Carter (GA-1), Greg Gianforte (MT- At Large)

The complete preliminary Senate committee rosters for the Democrats and Republicans are now available. NASTAD will be targeting new members and key Committee assignments for hill visits during our upcoming Annual Meeting in May. 

Administration Activities

Personnel Updates

Valerie Huber, Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, has been reassigned to the HHS Office of Global Affairs. In her new role, Huber will serve as senior policy adviser focused on sexual and reproductive affairs in the office charged with coordinating HHS' international efforts and global health diplomacy.


New Customizable Factsheets: Making the Case for Investing in STD Prevention

ASTHO and NCSD, with support from CDC, recently released a set of factsheets designed to help health departments demonstrate the local impact of STD program funding on disease burden and associated medical costs. The factsheets can be customized with local data outputs calculated from the CDC’s STD Prevention Allocation Consequences Estimator, and can be used to elevate awareness about the importance of STD program funding among decisionmakers, the media, and local audiences. 

WebinarHealth Department and Community-Based Organization Collaborative Strategies for Linkage-to-CareJoin the Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA) and NASTAD for a webinar featuring experts from the field to explore successful strategies and solutions. Date: January 22, 2019 Time: 2 PM - 3 PM EST.Topics covered include:

  • Building relationships between community-based organizations (CBOs) and health departments (HDs);
  • Improving communication between partners within and/or across jurisdictions;
  • Case studies of comprehensive strategies;
  • Resources available to improve outcomes for CBOs; and more!

MMWROpioid Prescribing Rates in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Counties Among Primary Care Providers Using an Electronic Health Record System — United States, 2014–2017

Job and Project Opportunities

STD Program Manager– Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services is hiring for a STD Program Manager within their HIV/STD Prevention & Care Branch.

Cook County Health System Executive Director of HIV Services– Cook County

The Cook County Health System (CCH) is hiring an Executive Director of HIV Services.

Disease Intervention Specialist– Alaska

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is hiring for a Disease Investigation Specialist I within their Division of Public Health, Section of Epidemiology, HIV/STD Program.

Request for Proposals: Planning for State Viral Hepatitis Elimination Programs

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is seeking state and territorial health agencies to participate in a capacity building project to plan for and work towards hepatitis B and C elimination. Capacity-building support will be tailored to each participating jurisdiction based on its current stage in elimination planning. Applications are due on January 21, 2019 by 5:00PM EST. Selections will be announced January 28, 2019.

Request for Proposals: Technical Support with the HIV Care Surveillance System in Haiti

NASTAD has worked with the Ministry of Health in Haiti (MSPP) since 2008 on the development and implementation of their case-based surveillance system for HIV. As the system has evolved the needs for analysis and ongoing technical support have grown. NASTAD is looking to engage in a contract with an organization that will provide technical support in the areas of system design, programming, patient-level case matching and de-duplication, data analysis, reporting, writing (including peer-reviewed publications), and remote/onsite partner training and mentoring.Submissions are due by close of business January 25, 2019.

Upcoming Meetings

2019 National HIV Prevention Conference

The 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) will be held March 18-21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Registration is open.

2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference

The 2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference will be held in Atlanta on March 25-28, 2019. The conference will address advances in diagnostic testing, and strategies for using test technologies in public health programs and clinical practice. NASTAD encourages health department HIV, HCV, and STI testing program managers and other staff consider submitting a late breaker abstract.  Particularly encouraged are abstracts that address strategies to integrate HIV and HCV testing and linkage, and best practices to streamline time to test result receipt and linkage to care in clinical and non-clinical settings.

HIV, HCV and Syphilis Diagnostic Testing Workshop

The Association for Public Health Laboratories (APHL) will be hosting an HIV, HCV and Syphilis Diagnostic Testing workshopin conjunction with the 2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference. The workshop will be held Monday March 25, 2019 from 8am-3pm. The conference will kick off at 4pm. The educational workshop will feature short presentations highlighting the current technology and algorithms for each pathogen followed by facilitated and small-group discussions centered around case studies and real-world examples. The objectives of the workshop are two-fold: (1) to educate attendees about the technologies and challenges in diagnostic testing and (2) to encourage peer-to-peer discussions and fostering collaborations beyond the workshop. Program staff are welcome to attend.  If you will be attending the conference and would be interested in participating in the workshop, please contact APHL’s Dr. Anne Gaynor.

News Bulletin

Trump’s Medicare rule change threatens to reignite AIDS epidemic

“In November, the Trump administration proposed eliminating this protected class status for approximately 45 million people receiving drug coverage through Medicare Part D, including over 250,000 people living with HIV. Under this proposed rule change, the Trump administration gives tremendous authority to insurance companies to make decisions about treatment, decisions that should be left to individuals and their doctors. We’ve seen what happens when insurers have this kind of power — people lose access to the treatments they need. And people die.”

Higher Viral Control in Women With HIV in Serodiscordant Relationships

“Viral control is more prevalent in infected partners in HIV-serodiscordant couples compared with individuals with HIV who are not in a stable discordant relationship, potentially as a result of behavioral and biologic HIV resistance factors in discordant couples, according to study results published in PLOS One.”