Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir July 23, 2018

Hill Happenings

ACA Risk Adjustment Payments

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX-8th) recently said that he is in talks with the Trump administration about ways to restart key Affordable Care Act (ACA) payments that the Administration abruptly suspended this month.“The Administration wants to restore those payments, so we're looking at ways that we can help them do that,” Brady said.

Administration Activities

Drug Pricing 

NASTAD, Treatment Action Group (TAG), and HIVMA (HIV Medicine Association) joined together in submitting collaborative comments in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) public request for information on the agency’s Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs. The comments call on Congress and the White House to boldly address a broken drug pricing system and to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for its role in ensuring that critical disease-preventing and life-saving medications are both available and affordable, particularly for people living with HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. NASTAD also joined the HIV Health Care Access Working Group’s comments on the blueprint, as well as the 340B Coalition’s comments.  

In addition, Secretary Azar direct the Food and Drug Administration to launch a work group on prescription drug importation as part of the Administration’s work to lower drug prices. 

2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)

The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) released a report on the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2017. YRBS monitors health related behaviors in youth and adults, including knowledge of HIV and alcohol and other drug use. DASH also released Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary and Trends Report 2007-2017, which is the first report to examine data trends over ten years. 

National Guideline Clearinghouse

Citing budget cuts, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub-agency of HHS, shut down its clinical guidelines website, called the National Guideline Clearinghouse, on Monday. The cut was announced May 14 of this year and reiterated in a July 12 notice.

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Funding Reallocation

As previously reported, unspent funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program were reallocated to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In January 2017, the Obama Administration requested the reallocation of at least $17 million in unspent funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. NASTAD has no reason to believe the referenced reallocations will impact current Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding in any way. 

2018 National STD Prevention Conference

The 2018 STD Prevention Conference will be held August 27-30, 2018 in Washington, DC. Registration for the conference is now open. 

2018 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment

The 2018 Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment will be held December 11-14, 2018 in Oxon, Hill, MD. Late registration for the conference is still open. 

2019 National HIV Prevention Conference

The 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) will be held March 18-21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out the updated website for more information about tracks and to view the tentative conference schedule. 

NASTAD

NASTAD Establishes Chart of Available Infectious Disease Grants

As the opioid crisis in the United States continues, the accompanying rise in injection-related infectious diseases also poses a public health crisis. Opioid overdose deaths increased fivefold from 1999 to 2016, and new hepatitis C infections more than tripled from 2010 to 2016. Some communities that have been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis have also increases in hepatitis B and other infections, such as endocarditis and HIV.

Federal agencies have been exploring many solutions to the infectious disease consequences of the opioid crisis and among those are several opportunities for states and public health departments to apply for grants to fund programs and infrastructure to address the rising rates of infectious disease. As more of these grants become available, NASTAD has created a chart tracking the announcement and details of these opportunities. The grant chart will be a living document updated regularly that members can refer to for information as they explore funding for initiatives and programs that will strengthen and expand their work fighting infectious diseases. 

Resources

Integrating Responses at the Intersection of Opioid Use Disorder and Infectious Disease Epidemics: Proceedings of a Workshop

Community Roundtable on the 3rd Annual National Monitoring Report on HIV/HCV Co-Infection

UNAIDS 2018 Global Report: Miles to go—closing gaps, breaking barriers, righting injustices

News Bulletin

Why Don’t More Americans Use PrEP?

“The disparities in PrEP access are astounding: Its use in black and Hispanic populations is a small fraction of that among whites. In the South, where a majority of H.I.V. infections occur, use is half what it is in the Northeast. Women use PrEP at drastically lower rates than men, and while there’s no national data on PrEP and transgender Americans, it’s almost certainly underused. The issue of PrEP access has become an issue of privilege.”

Job Opportunities 

Disease Intervention Specialist - Alaska

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is hiring for a Disease Intervention Specialist within their HIV/STD Program.

Deputy Medical Director - Tennessee

Tennessee is hiring a Deputy Medical Director. There are two vacancy announcements associated with the position: Deputy Medical Director, HIV Prevention & Treatment and Deputy Medical Director, Viral Hepatitis & STDs