Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Julio Contreras August 30, 2021

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations

On August 24, the House of Representatives approved the Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution, clearing a procedural hurdle required to unlock the budget reconciliation process in both chambers, which Democrats plan to leverage in order to avoid the Senate filibuster and pass FY2022 spending bills with a simple majority. The FY2022 appropriations bills are expected to include broad social spending priorities that may not receive any Republican support, including health spending priorities such as lowering drug pricing and strengthening access to affordable health coverage through Marketplace plans. Once the Senate spending bills take shape, Democrats intend to package together the FY2022 appropriations legislation with the Senate-negotiated bipartisan infrastructure package (H.R.3684) and the House-approved voting rights bill (H.R.4). However, the bipartisan infrastructure package and the voting rights bill are not subject to the budget reconciliation process and will require Republican support, which could complicate Democrats’ legislative strategy for accomplishing the Biden Administration’s policy agenda.

Although Congress is working to quickly advance the FY2022 spending bills, many lawmakers expect that a continuing resolution will be required to extend federal funding and avoid a September 30 fiscal cliff. 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

CDC Launches #ShesWell PrEP Initiative

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new initiative, #ShesWell: PrEP for Women, to raise awareness about Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for women. The campaign aims to educate women about the benefits of PrEP and encourages clinical providers to screen their patients and prescribe PrEP to women who can benefit from it. The new initiative will support PrEP uptake among women, who make up about 18% of new HIV cases each year. The #ShesWell initiative is part of the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV (Together) campaign.

Resources

Webinar: NAIRHHA Day: A Conversation with Federal & Local Partners

Date & Time: Wednesday, September 1 from 1 – 2 pm ET

Join Hepatitis B Foundation, NASTAD, and the Multicultural AIDS Coalition for an event that brings together federal and local partners working in the HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis spaces for a conversation centered on work with African immigrant communities.

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

NASTAD Drug User Health Team

NASTAD, in partnership with AIDS United, has been selected by the CDC to manage a grant that will support SSPs in expanding their COVID and adult vaccination programming. We are recruiting for a Manager, a Senior Manager, and Associate Director/Project Coordinator. More information can be found below:

  • The Manager, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to support NASTAD’s role in the launch and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802). 
  • The Senior Manager, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to support NASTAD’s role in the launch, advancement, and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802).
  • The Associate Director, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to serve as the Project Coordinator and direct activities related to NASTAD’s role in the launch and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802).

Hepatitis Surveillance Data Analyst – New Orleans, LA

This position is responsible for the data analysis activities for the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHHP), in the Hepatitis Surveillance unit. Data utilized for Hepatitis Surveillance activities include Hepatitis laboratory data, Case Report Forms, Provider Report Forms, Linkage to Cure data, investigation data, Medicaid data, and data from related sources and programs. This position will implement and coordinate data analysis activities to monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting hepatitis elimination within the state. All activities must be completed in accordance with the security and confidentiality guidelines required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHHP.

Austin Department of Public Health -- Austin, TX

  • 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

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.

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. Apply by August 31, 2021.

New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control

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.

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

White House to House Dems: Drug price plan is a winning issue

“The White House is aggressively touting the political benefits of President Joe Biden’s plan to lower the cost of prescription drug prices, setting up the issue as a likely focal point of Congress’ budget debate when the House returns this week. In private conversations with lawmakers, administration officials have emphasized the popularity of the proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices…The administration is also hoping that the provision will help solidify the Democratic votes they need to pass the roughly $3.5 trillion spending plan via the budget reconciliation process, which will require near-unanimous Democratic support in the House, and all 50 senators in the Democratic caucus.“

Democrats eye new federal coverage program in states declining Medicaid expansion

“Congressional Democrats are likely to create a new federal program in their coming package to provide health insurance coverage in states that have declined to expand Medicaid, following a transition period to set up the new program, aides and advocates say. The move, coming as part of the $3.5 trillion package Democrats are now crafting, would provide coverage to the more than 2 million people who are currently ineligible because they live in the 12 Republican-led states that have declined to accept the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”

Rural Counties Awarded $78 Million through Opioid Response Program

“The federal government has allocated more than $80 million to combat the opioid-involved overdose crisis and support public health in rural communities. The funding will be provided by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through its Rural Community Opioid Response Program—$78 million to overdose prevention, treatment and recovery services for people who use opioids, and an additional $7.5 million through a separate program focused on people who use stimulants.”