Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Julio Contreras October 18, 2021

Hill Happenings

House Democrats Reintroduce PrEP Assistance Program Act

On October 15, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) and Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) reintroduced the PrEP Assistance Program Act. The bill would make PrEP medication more affordable and accessible by providing grants to cover medication costs, clinic and testing fees, physician visits, and community outreach programs. The bill authors highlight the legislation’s potential to improve health equity by mitigating the PrEP access gap for Black and Latinx communities. NASTAD supports the PrEP Assistance Program Act and applauds the Representatives for reintroducing the bill.

Reconciliation and FY2022 Appropriations

Democrats on the Hill are resuming Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) spending negotiations after passing a continuing resolution (H.R. 5305) that extends federal funding through December 3 and advancing a temporary increase to the debt limit (S. 1301). With the fiscal deadlines pushed back to December, Democrats now have more time to negotiate on topline spending numbers for the FY2022 spending bills and key provisions that could be included in the Build Back Better Act. Internal party disagreements on certain provisions in the Build Back Better Act have put key Democratic health priorities in jeopardy, such as prescription drug price negotiation and strengthening Medicaid expansion.

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

National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day

National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), observed annually on October 15, marks an important opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of HIV on the Hispanic/Latino community in the United States. In 2019, more than 10,000 Hispanic/Latino people received an HIV diagnosis, representing 29% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas. Many social and structural factors, such as limited income and health care access, housing instability, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and systemic racism have a significant influence on the overall health of some Hispanic/Latino people and can be barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services. Culturally and linguistically competent materials and campaigns could increase PrEP awareness and uptake among Hispanic/Latino people. CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together (Detengamos Juntos el VIH) campaign has a wide variety of resources developed for Hispanic/Latino audiences. Click here to read a Dear Colleague letter on NLAAD from the Director of the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention and the Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, and click here to access the NLAAD toolkit.

Resources

NASTAD Resource: National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC) Training Deck on Harm Reduction and Syringe Access

The NASTAD Drug User Health Team is pleased to announced the publication of a new resource. The National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center (NHRTAC) Training Deck on Harm Reduction and Syringe Access is a customizable PowerPoint slide deck training designed to provide an overview on the foundations of harm reduction philosophy and practice, drug user health issues and trends, and increase cultural competence and humility when working with people who use drugs. 

HRSA NOFO: Ending the HIV Epidemic - Primary Care HIV Prevention

Application Deadline: Tuesday, December 14

TA Webinar: Thursday, October 28 at 2 pm ET

HRSA released the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Ending the HIV Epidemic - Primary Care HIV Prevention (PCHP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (HRSA-22-104). HRSA will invest approximately $50 million in health centers located in the targeted geographic locations where a majority of new HIV infections occur, as identified by the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative. FY 2022 PCHP will support expanding HIV prevention services that decrease the risk of HIV transmission in underserved communities, focusing on supporting access to and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Health centers with service delivery sites in the targeted geographic locations that did not receive FY 2020 PCHP or FY 2021 PCHP funding will be eligible to apply. Technical assistance (TA) resources are available on the PCHP TA webpage.

Job Postings

Public Health Policy Analyst, HRSA HAB – Rockville, Maryland

Announcement Link: HRSA-HAB-22-MP-11253755 and HRSA-HAB-22-DE-11253780

This position is a mission critical occupation and is responsible for analyzing public health programs, policies and procedures to ensure that Health Resources and Services Administration meets its mission, goals and objectives. As a Public Health Policy Analyst, you serve as an advisor and resource to HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) in developing and formulating policies and regulations that are sensitive to the special needs and concerns of safety net providers and beneficiaries.

HIV Prevention Epidemiologist – Madison, Wisconsin

In collaboration with the UW Population Health Institute, this position will be based in the Communicable Disease Harm Reduction Section, Bureau of Communicable Diseases (BCD), Division of Public Health (DPH), at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). Under the general supervision of the HIV Surveillance Unit Supervisor, the HIV Prevention Epidemiologist will serve as a subject matter expert in providing the HIV Program with technical assistance, data management, epidemiology, and evaluation expertise. The HIV Prevention Epidemiologist is responsible for data analysis and interpretation of HIV prevention data used for program planning and development within the Section. This includes responsibility for data management and datasets that are used for public health research, program evaluation, and quality assurance by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DPH, medical providers, local health departments, community partners, and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH).

Communicable Disease Unit Surveillance Program Manager – Cheyenne, Wyoming

The Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, Communicable Disease Unit is seeking a Communicable Disease Surveillance Program Manager for Cheyenne. This position will serve as the Communicable Disease (CD) Surveillance Program Manager and senior epidemiologist for the Communicable Disease Unit. This position oversees public health surveillance of four disease areas (HIV, STD, TB, and Viral Hepatitis).  This position will monitor disease trends and utilize surveillance data to coordinate public health activities.  

Public Health Informaticist, California Department of Public Health – Richmond, CA

The Public Health Informaticist position is assigned to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Control Branch, and is located at the CDPH campus in Richmond, CA, with consideration for a telework schedule. Under the general supervision of the STD Control Branch, Surveillance and Data Management Unit Chief, the Informaticist supports the design and implementation of disease prevention and control activities related to HIV, STDs, and viral hepatitis (especially hepatitis C virus (HCV)). 

HIV Section Administrator, Bureau of Communicable Diseases -  Tallahassee, Florida

This position in the Florida Department of Health 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.

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.

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

Biden eyeing FDA veteran Robert Califf to lead the agency

“President Joe Biden is likely to nominate former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf to return to the top role at the sweeping regulatory agency, according to four people with knowledge of the situation. If confirmed by the Senate, Califf would take over an agency poised to make key decisions on coronavirus vaccines and treatments while facing criticism of recent controversial drug approvals and widespread burnout due to the ongoing pandemic. Califf previously served as commissioner for nearly a year in Obama's second administration after an overwhelming vote in his favor. The White House has not finalized its decision, and the people with knowledge cautioned the situation could still change. But nine months into its search for a permanent FDA chief, Califf is now viewed as the leading candidate for the job.”

As Democrats Bicker Over Massive Spending Plan, Here’s What’s at Stake for Medicaid

“Tired of waiting for Republican state lawmakers, congressional Democrats are moving to close the Medicaid coverage gap as they forge a package of new domestic spending that could run as high as $3.5 trillion over 10 years and would significantly enhance other federal health programs. But the cost is raising concerns within the party, and the competition to get initiatives in the package is fierce. With Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House, health experts say this could be the only time such a fix to the “Medicaid gap” will be possible for many years.”

Overdose deaths hit record high: CDC data

“Drug overdose deaths hit a record high with almost 97,000 reported fatalities in the 12-month period ending March, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics preliminary data showed that overdose deaths rose 29.6 percent since the year-period ending March 2020. The record fatality count occurred during a time period encompassing the bulk of the pandemic’s first year.”