Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Julio Contreras May 10, 2021

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations

On April 28, a bipartisan group of Representatives sent a Dear Colleague Letter to House Appropriations Committee leadership in support of federal programs to improve maternal health. The group of lawmakers call for increased funding to maternal health programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to prevent maternal deaths and eliminate inequities in maternal health outcomes. NASTAD joined over 60 organizations in support of the Dear Colleague Letter, urging Congress to fund maternal health programs, like the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant and maternal health research at NIH, at the highest possible funding levels.

On May 6, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) announced the timeline for advancing the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill. Chair DeLauro expects subcommittee and full committee markups of the spending bills in June, and the consolidated bill arriving on the floor and passing the House in July. Lawmakers are working to quickly advance the spending bills following the delay of the President’s top-line budget proposal, with the budget in detail now expected at the end of May.

House E&C Committee Announces Hearing on HHS Budget

On May 4, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) announced a Health Subcommittee hearing held on May 12 on the fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will provide testimony on the agency’s fiscal and policy priorities, including COVID-19 emergency response, maternal health, health equity, the substance use disorder crisis, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and expanding access to affordable health coverage.

Administrative Activity

Healthcare Enrollment Swells During Pandemic

New data show enrollment boosts for state Medicaid programs and Healthcare.gov Marketplace plans since both the start of the pandemic and the Biden Administration’s decision to open a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) on March 23. On May 6, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that nearly 940,000 Americans have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov during the Biden Administration’s SEP for the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Nearly 2 million current enrollees returned to the Marketplace and received reduced monthly premiums as a result of the financial assistance afforded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Additionally, an article published in JAMA shows an increase of 5 million enrollees in Medicaid programs at the onset of the pandemic from March 2020 to September 2020.


CDC Updates Know Hepatitis B Campaign Materials

In conjunction with Hepatitis Awareness Month, CDC released the next installment of the Know Hepatitis B (KHB) campaign materials. CDC updated social media content and graphics to support the campaign and updated hepatitis B educational resources, including resources translated to Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Save the Date: NASTAD and CDC Hepatitis Awareness Month Webinar

On May 19, CDC and NASTAD will host a webinar to share new viral hepatitis surveillance data and stories from the field about the impact of COVID-19 on viral hepatitis programs and activities. The event, held on Hepatitis Testing Day, will take place from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET.

National HIV/AIDS Initiative Factsheet: Federal Discretionary HIV Funding Is Essential

“This Quick Take document discusses how federal discretionary HIV programs contribute to the HIV response in the United States and how increasing funding for these programs is essential. Federal discretionary funding, however, has never been sufficient to meet the needs of all communities heavily impacted by HIV. The Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Initiative provided the first substantial increase in federal discretionary HIV funding in decades, but current funding still may be insufficient to meet the EHE goal of reducing the number of new HIV transmissions by 90% by 2030.”

KFF Report: Building on the Evidence Base: Studies on the Effects of Medicaid Expansion, February 2020 to March 2021

“Recent research finds that expansion has contributed to improvements in a number of outcomes related to sexual and reproductive healthThis body of research includes findings related to women’s health and HIV/AIDS outcomes, both areas of health care that have faced increased challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Building on prior research finding positive impacts among people of reproductive age, recent research indicates that expansion has improved measures including coverage rates before, during, and after pregnancy; maternal mortality and infant health outcomes; utilization of the most effective contraceptive methods; and screening for HIV/AIDS.”

Job Postings

Director I, HIV/STD Prevention and Care – Austin, Texas

Works under the general direction of the Director of the TB/HIV/STD Section (THSS) of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Performs advanced (senior-level) managerial work leading the day-to-day operations of the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Unit. The Director I would lead the day-to-day operations of an array of programmatic services that maintain and facilitate programs of the Unit. These programs include statewide programs for HIV clinical and social services; the provision of medications for the treatment of HIV and other STDs; and HIV, STD and viral hepatitis prevention.

NASTAD Senior Director, Public Health Systems – Remote/Washington, DC

The Senior Director, Public Health Systems, provides leadership and direction to NASTAD’s health care access (HCA) and health systems integration (HSI) efforts. This position leads the HCA and HSI teams providing direct supervision to these teams’ directors and the overarching work of the teams regarding programmatic, technical assistance, and capacity building activities.

NASTAD Drug User Health Team – Remote/Washington, DC

  • The Associate, Drug User Health will play a vital role in project coordination to streamline and enhance the team’s expanding drug user health portfolio. Core activities will entail administrative and logistical support to NASTAD’s Drug User Health team in the delivery of technical assistance (TA) and training to health department and community-based officials. This position works closely with the team to facilitate effective coordination and communication across multifaceted project activities and deliverables.
  • The Manager, Drug User Health will support the advancement of NASTAD’s efforts to assist health departments and community-based drug user health programs by providing technical assistance (TA) and training on effective drug user health strategies and connecting people who use drugs to HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment programs. Core activities will include: leading collaborations and organizational partnerships to expand access to clinical care for people who use drugs; supporting the creation and release of training curricula and guidance documents; and providing tailored TA to support health department drug user health and harm reduction programs, community SSPs, and HIV and hepatitis care and treatment programs.

Public Health Administrator, HIV Prevention Engagement & Outreach Coordinator – Indianapolis, Indiana

The Public Health Administrator coordinates numerous HIV prevention programs with both high-risk and HIV positive consumers. Programming is targeted to CDC-identified priority populations including but not limited to: Communities of Color, Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), Transgender; People who Inject Drugs (PWID). This position works with prevention team managers and coordinators on the planning, development and implementation programs and projects. This position assures all initiatives are compliant with funders guidance.

Disease Intervention Specialist – St. Paul, Minnesota

This posting will be used to fill two (2) positions. These positions will work as the Disease Prevention Specialists focusing on intervening and prevention of the transmission of HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia infection through educating, counseling, investigating, and facilitating the medical examination and treatment of persons with these infections, and those at highest risk for infection to prevent death and disability by initiating and maintaining HIV clinical care and antiretroviral therapy.

Statewide Deputy Medical Director, HIV/STD/Vi ral Hepatitis -- Nashville, Tennessee

Primary responsibilities include leadership and oversight of programs related to HIV prevention and treatment in Tennessee. This position will supervise and provide mentorship to the directors of HIV Prevention and Surveillance and the Ryan White Part B program. Utilize data to guide program and policy development and will provide clinical and programmatic oversight for the implementation of all related prevention and treatment activities. Requires management and leadership skills.

COVID-19 Project Manager – Richmond, Virginia

The Virginia Department of Health is seeking a COVID-19 Project Manager in the Office of Epidemiology. This position works with various stakeholders to organize resources, communicate on projects, and provide reports to various levels of leadership. The COVID-19 Project Manager is primarily responsible for implementing project management processes, organizing timelines, communicating updates, escalating issues that are identified, and providing various reports that provide updates regarding the project’s status.

Clinic Operations Director—Baltimore, Maryland

The Clinic Operations Director position falls within the Division of Population Health and Disease Prevention at Baltimore City Health Department in the Bureau of Clinical Services and HIV/STI prevention. It reports directly to the Bureau Administrator of the Bureau of Clinical Services and HIV/STI Prevention. The medical direction of the clinics are led by 4 medical directors and 2 clinical chiefs. The clinic operations director will work in tandem with the medical directors and report to the bureau administrator. All 8 leadership positions work in an integrated and collaborative partnership. The Clinic Operations Director will oversee all operational aspects of the two clinics, as well as their integration into other aspects of the health department and coordination with other health department programs.

Assistant Commissioner - Health Department – Baltimore, Maryland

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is seeking an Assistant Commissioner to lead the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Outbreak Control. This senior management position will lead a talented team responsible for communicable disease investigation, outbreak control and emergency preparedness programming. The incumbent will also be responsible for developing and implementing agency wide policies related to health department readiness to respond to public health emergencies. The incumbent will report directly to the Deputy Commissioner for BCHD’s Division of Population Health & Disease Prevention.   

Communicable Disease Epidemiologist – Cheyenne, Wyoming

This position will serve as the Communicable Disease AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Coordinator, Wyoming TB Controller, and Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) for the Communicable Disease (CD) Treatment Program.  Assist in outbreak response to ensure the safety of Wyoming residents; by interviewing cases for exposure information, updating news outlets on the progress of outbreak control, analyzing exposure data utilizing epidemiological and statistical methods.

Open Positions – New York State

The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with Health Research, Inc, has various job openings, including some within the AIDS Institute. Please visit this link to learn about their current opportunities.

News Bulletin

Years ago, a syringe exchange helped end a devastating HIV outbreak. Now it might be forced to close

“The Indiana county at the center of a devastating HIV crisis in 2015 may soon close the syringe exchange program widely credited with helping to end its outbreak. For public health advocates in Scott County, home to 24,000, the controversy is all too familiar. Six years ago, the county drew national attention for recording roughly 200 HIV cases in a single year, largely driven by injection drug use. Critics have charged that the state government’s slow response and monthslong refusal to permit needle exchanges only made the crisis worse.”

Top CDC official resigns from post following reassignment

“Nancy Messonnier, a senior Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist who was the first U.S. official to warn of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic last year, is resigning from the agency.”

R.I.P. Patrick O’Connell, Founding Director of Visual AIDS

“Patrick O’Connell, the founding director of Visual AIDS, which uses art to raise awareness of the epidemic and supports artists living with HIV, died of AIDS-related causes March 23, 2021, in Manhattan. He was 67.”