Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Julio Contreras August 9, 2021

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations

Appropriations discussions are hinging on the Senate following the passage of Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) spending bills in the House of Representatives and progress made in Senate negotiations regarding the President’s infrastructure deal. Democrats have limited appropriations discussions in the Senate since they contend that the final FY2022 spending package will not proceed until an agreement is reached on the President’s infrastructure package. But, with a bipartisan group of Senators having reached a deal on the infrastructure plan, Senators are working quickly to draft legislative text for the upper chamber’s spending bills and move the appropriations and infrastructure bills in parallel.

On August 4, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and approved the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Agriculture-FDA) FY2022 spending bill. The bill text includes language that would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update blood donor deferral policies based on current science and on an individualized risk assessment rather than community-wide prevalence, which could prompt the FDA to update blood donation policies that prohibit men who have sex with men from donating blood. The Agriculture-FDA spending bill is now headed to the Senate floor for a final vote. Senate Appropriators have yet to release legislative text or announce a markup schedule for the FY2022 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill, although it is expected to be marked up after the August recess.

Lawmakers are working to quickly advance FY2022 spending bills, but some appropriators anticipate that protracted appropriations and infrastructure negotiations in the Senate may require the adoption of a continuing resolution to keep the government open as lawmakers work out an agreement ahead of a September 30 funding deadline. NASTAD will continue to monitor the FY2022 appropriations process to advocate for the highest funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.

Administrative Activities

New Members Join Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

On August 4, during the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) virtual meeting, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine swore in eight new PACHA members, including incoming PACHA co-chair, Marlene McNeese. PACHA provides advice, information, and recommendations to the HHS Secretary regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective prevention, treatment, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS. This includes recommendations to the Secretary regarding the development and implementation of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative and the HIV National Strategic Plan.


CDC Publishes New Data from Medical Monitoring Project

On August 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published data from the 2019 cycle (June 2019–May 2020) of the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP). The MMP is an annual, cross-sectional complex sample survey that reports nationally representative estimates of behavioral and clinical characteristics of adults with diagnosed HIV infection in the United States. The latest report shows that, among adults with diagnosed HIV, an estimated 98% had health insurance or coverage for care or medications; 46% had coverage through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, 45% had Medicaid, 28% had Medicare, and 34% had private health insurance (not mutually exclusive categories).

HHS NOFO: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for Promoting Vaccine Confidence in Local Communities through Partnership with HHS Regional Health Offices

The Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) and the Office of the Regional Health Operations (ORHO), Office of Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services, announced a funding opportunity to support innovative practices in local communities that increase vaccine confidence and promote uptake of vaccines that are routinely recommended for adults and children, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, adolescents and young adults, pregnant people, residents in rural communities, and others with low vaccination coverage rates. Applications are due August 17, 2021.

HRSA Launches Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) Program

On July 29, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) program. ESCALATE was designed with the goal of reducing stigma for people with HIV on multiple levels throughout the health care delivery system, including on the individual client, organization, and system levels. The program also focuses on implementing various stigma-reducing approaches with an emphasis on increasing cultural humility in care and treatment settings for people with HIV within the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). ESCALATE features trainings, time-limited TA for RWHAP recipients/subrecipients, and two learning collaboratives to reduce stigma and improve health outcomes based on the concepts of cultural humility and stigma reduction. Applications are open until Friday, September 3rd.

2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium

Date: September 29-30

As part of the HRSA-funded Special Project of National Significance (SPNS): Evidence-Informed Approaches to Improving Health Outcomes for People Living with HIV, Howard Brown Health will host the virtual 2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium taking place on September 29-30. This year's theme is Community Informed Care is a Radical Act. The goal of the conference is to provide a space for healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, and advocates from across the country to disseminate evidence-based practices and engage in rigorous discussion around issues relating to the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.

Job Postings

University of Southern Maine – Portland, ME

  • HIV and STD Epidemiologist: The University of Southern Maine seeks applicants for a full-time, soft money-funded scientific professional position for statewide epidemiological support, program coordination, and leadership focusing on for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Responsibilities include statewide surveillance for HIV and other STDs, education and outreach activities focused on prevention of HIV and STD transmission, and participation in routine and outbreak infectious disease monitoring and response activities.
  • Viral Hepatitis Coordinator: The University of Southern Maine seeks applicants for a full-time, soft money funded professional position involving statewide viral hepatitis program coordination and leadership skills. Responsibilities include maintaining technical expertise in the subject area, and coordinating, developing, implementing, and evaluating programmatic interventions.  

Austin Department of Public Health -- Austin, TX

  • Public Health Program Coordinator: The Public Health Program Coordinator will direct all aspects of the Ryan White Part A Quality Management Program. Responsibilities will include directing policy formulation; program planning, design, implementation, and evaluation. Excellent Benefits Program
  • Grants Coordinator: This position will be responsible for managing the subcontracting process for the Ending the HIV Epidemic grant by preparing RFPs/RFAs; developing grant subcontracts; negotiating work statements/budgets; and executing contracts.  This position is also responsible for monitoring grant expenses and activities by identifying and solving potential or existing grant problems. Excellent Benefits Program
  • Grants Program Manager: The purpose of this position is to provide key program and administrative support related to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Federal grants for services for People with HIV (PWH) in the Austin area. This position will assist the unit by providing oversight for the contract development and grants management processes. Excellent Benefits Program

Health Scientist, HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau – Rockville, MD

This position is located in the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Division of Policy and Data, Special Projects of National Significance Branch. Some major duties and responsibilities include providing technical guidance for the evaluation of HIV/AIDS service programs administered by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Special Projects of National Significance; designing, analyzing, and disseminating HIV/AIDS service program data to facilitate program monitoring as well as determine the most effective methods for disseminating findings from aggregate- and client-level data collection systems; identifying, designing, and conducting analyses (qualitative and/or quantitative) of program data and preparing written and analytical reports; and providing expertise on planning, designing, and developing materials and documents for dissemination.

Director of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy – Washington, DC

This position is located in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). OASH coordinates public health and science activities across HHS components. The incumbent will serve as the senior level advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) on health policies, procedures, and activities relating to infectious disease and related policy and program development. The incumbent provides strategic leadership, oversight, direction and coordination of policies, programs, and activities designed to prevent the occurrence of infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and other emerging communicable diseases.

NASTAD Assistant, Program and Policy – Remote/Washington, DC

The Assistant, Program and Policy will support NASTAD’s program and policy teams by providing administrative and logistical support for the Senior Directors/Directors. The ideal candidate will be motivated, highly organized, and able to follow through on tasks with minimal prompting. Demonstrated ability to execute projects in a timely manner and precise attention to detail are required.

NASTAD Senior Associate, Prevention – Remote/Washington, DC

The Senior Associate, Prevention, as part of NASTAD’s Prevention team, supports the organization’s capacity to support health departments’ (HDs) implementation of Ending the HIV Epidemic plans. The position works primarily on NASTAD’s CDC-funded “Strategic Partnerships and Planning to Support Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States” (PS19-1906 Component A) project to provide technical assistance to HDs implementing CDC PS20-2010 Component A.

2021-2022 HepVu Fellowship

HepVu is focusing on empowering new voices by offering three fellowship opportunities for researchers in viral hepatitis and HIV spaces. Each fellow will be awarded a $10,000 personal stipend to conduct a research project related to HIV, Hepatitis C, or both, using data on AIDSVu and/or HepVu, along with other data sources. Priority will be given to research proposals that address health disparities and/or relevant intersections such as syndemics, the opioid epidemic, social determinants of health, STIs, etc. We believe communities affected by these health disparities should be centered in the work we do and strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups in the HIV and Hepatitis C space. Fellows’ research will be featured on the Vu platforms and used to further illustrate the impact of HIV and/or viral hepatitis in the U.S.

New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control

  • ID Care Services Program Manager (Public Health Program Manager #43569, Job ID 20909): This full-time position leads the dynamic NH Ryan White CARE Program and NH TB Financial Assistance Program teams.
  • HIV Surveillance Coordinator (Program Specialist III #18990, Job ID 21123): This full-time epidemiologist position is responsible for HIV/AIDS case and cluster/outbreak surveillance activities, develops routine and ad hoc reports and data analysis projects, and supports related health equity initiatives.
  • STD Surveillance Statistical Assistant (Statistical Assistant #19623, Job ID 21093): This full-time position is responsible for supporting STD case surveillance activities, communicating with healthcare providers, and conducting preliminary data analyses.
  • Viral Hepatitis Coordinator (Health Promotion Advisor #42860 , Job ID 20743): This full-time position is responsible for coordinating state-wide viral hepatitis activities including prevention, testing, treatment and linkage to care activities.
  • ID Care Services Quality Management Specialist (Program Specialist IV #9T2810, Job ID: 19231). This full-time position plans and evaluates the quality management areas of the NH Ryan White CARE Program. Provides subject matter expertise with regard to quality improvement methodology and HIV specific performance measures, to demonstrate measured improvements in HIV care across NH.
  • COVID-19 Public Health Nurse Specialist (Public Health Nurse Specialist #9T2809, Job ID 20592). This full-time registered nurse position will join a multi-disciplinary team responsible for COVID-19 case investigation, contact tracing and outbreak response.

Statewide Deputy Medical Director, HIV/STD/Viral 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.

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

Biden Stimulus Increase Cut Obamacare Plan Premiums by 40%

“Monthly premiums for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act federal marketplace fell an average of 40% because of a boost in subsidies from government stimulus funds, the Biden administration said. More than 1.5 million people have enrolled in health plans through the HealthCare.gov marketplace since the administration opened a special window Feb. 15. Another 2.5 million who already had coverage took advantage of expanded assistance created by the American Rescue Plan stimulus that President Joe Biden signed into law in March.”

CDC calls for more syringe access in West Virginia county hit by HIV

“People who inject drugs in West Virginia’s largest county should have expanded access to sterile syringes, testing and treatment in response to one of the nation’s highest spikes of HIV cases, according to federal and state recommendations released Tuesday. The report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Health and Human Resources and Kanawha County’s health department comes amid a new state law that tightens requirements for needle exchange programs.”

An Open Letter to DaBaby

“We, the undersigned, represent organizations leading the fight to prevent HIV and provide care and treatment for people living with HIV, especially Black LGBTQ people across the Southern United States. We heard your inaccurate and harmful comments at Rolling Loud and have read your Instagram apology. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical. We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.”

CDC announces limited, targeted eviction moratorium until early October

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a fresh stop on certain evictions Tuesday, saying that evicting people could be detrimental to public health and would interfere with efforts to slow the pandemic. The new moratorium comes after President Joe Biden and his administration allowed a previous freeze to expire, setting off fury among members of his own party. The new ban applies to areas of the country with high or substantial transmission of Covid-19 and will last until October 3, according to the announcement.”