Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Emily McCloskey September 7, 2021

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations

Democrats on the Hill are working to advance a trio of the Biden Administration’s legislative priorities in the coming weeks ahead of a September 30 fiscal cliff, pairing the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) appropriations package with the Senate-negotiated bipartisan infrastructure package (H.R.3684) and the House-approved voting rights bill (H.R.4) to advance the three bills in tandem. Democrats plan to leverage the budget reconciliation process to avoid the Senate filibuster and pass policy priorities in the FY2022 spending bills without Republican support through a simple majority, including health spending priorities such as lowering drug pricing and strengthening access to affordable health coverage through Marketplace plans. 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 (CR) will be required to extend federal funding and avoid the September 30 fiscal deadline. NASTAD will continue to monitor the FY2022 appropriations process to advocate for the highest funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.

Resolution Introduced Honoring CDC’s Life-Saving Work

On August 31, Representative Nikema Williams (D-GA-05) and Senator Jon Ossof (D-GA) introduced a bipartisan resolution commemorating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 75 years of leading lifesaving work. The CDC was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in response to the spread of malaria, but has since developed into a multi-divisional agency that coordinates critical health services and initiatives, including the COVID-19 pandemic response and HIV and viral hepatitis prevention. NASTAD and a broad coalition of public health organizations endorsed the resolution.

Administrative Activities

HRSA Releases 2020 Data on HIV Prevention and Treatment in Health Centers

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care released data on its Health Center Program for calendar year 2020. Despite significant operational and staffing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers remained committed to maintaining access to essential HIV testing, prevention, care and treatment access in 2020. The 2020 data highlights health centers’ ability to deliver critical primary care and HIV prevention services while also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including conducting nearly 2.5 million HIV tests, providing PrEP services to 389,000 patients, and linking 81% of newly diagnosed HIV positive patients to care within 30 days of diagnoses.

CMS Announces Director of Center for Consumer Information and Insurance (CCIIO)

On August 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Dr. Ellen Montz as Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). Dr. Montz will leverage her experience in government and policy to deliver high quality, affordable health coverage and increase transparency around health care costs through HealthCare.gov and the federal insurance Marketplace. CMS also announced that Dr. Natalia Chalmers will serve as its first-ever Chief Dental Officer in the Office of the Administrator, and Dara Corrigan as Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Program Integrity (CPI).

Resources

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.

Fact Sheet: Ensuring Compliance With New Federal USPSTF PrEP Guidance

Job Postings

Operations Manager, Bureau of Communicable Diseases -  Tallahassee, Florida

This position is a highly responsible position as the HIV/AIDS Section Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Section reporting directly to the Chief of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. This position is responsible for all aspects of the HIV program including providing direction and functional supervision of staff responsible for HIV Prevention, Patient Care, Surveillance and Quality Improvement initiatives for the state of Florida. The position also has the responsibility of coordinating statewide efforts for program planning and culturally competent community engagement efforts.

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, Lousiana

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.

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.

Program Specialist IV, Division of Public Health Services – Concord, New Hampshire

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/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.

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

Hold insurers accountable for covering HIV prevention drugs at no cost to patients

“Today, many individuals face obstacles to accessing affordable treatments that prevent HIV despite insurers’ legal obligation to provide them and federal guidance requiring they be made freely available. In the fight to end the HIV epidemic, federal and state regulators must hold noncompliant health plans accountable to ensure that people can receive the medication and services they need to prevent HIV.”

How Federal Drug-Pricing Proposals Could Affect Medicaid

“Congress and the Biden administration are currently pursuing major drug-pricing reforms as part of the reconciliation legislation expected to move this fall. The reforms under consideration include allowing Medicare to directly negotiate prices with drug manufacturers and requiring manufacturers to pay rebates to Medicare if their prices rise faster than inflation. One largely overlooked aspect of these proposals, however, is how they may interact with the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, under which manufacturers pay rebates to Medicaid programs, significantly lowering prescription drug costs for states and the federal government.”

Report: Less Than Half of Americans Understand HIV

“A new report found that less than half of American adults feel knowledgeable about HIV. In its second annual State of HIV Stigma Study released on Thursday, LGBTQ+ media advocacy group GLAAD found that the stories and voices of people living with HIV are often not prioritized enough to decrease the stigma around the HIV epidemic.”