Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Garrett Eberhardt September 16, 2019

Hill Happenings

Senate Postpones Labor-HHS Subcommittee Appropriations Bill Markup

The debate, amending, and re-writing, or “markup”, of the Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee appropriations bill originally scheduled for last week was suddenly postponed after a dispute over “poison pill” amendments arose. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) canceled the markup after learning that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) planned to introduce an amendment barring the Trump administration from implementing its Title X family planning "gag rule" that bars government funding from going to organizations that provide information about abortion services, and that the amendment has enough votes to pass in the larger committee.

Short-term Spending Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown Likely

Democrats in the House of Representatives have been circulating a draft continuing resolution (CR) to fund government agencies after the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The CR would not grant the Trump administration’s request to use Customs and Border Protection funds to build sections of southern border wall outside of the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas or allow for funds to expand the U.S. Marshals Service’s ability to detain a greater number of undocumented immigrants, but it would

accommodate a White House request for an increased rate of disaster relief following Hurricane Dorian. If passed, the bill is expected to extending funding for the federal government through late November.

Planned Parenthood Calls on Congress to Protect Title X and Repeal the Global Gag Rule

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America sent letters signed by numerous national health organizations, including NASTAD, to the House, Senate, and Congressional leadership urging them to consider including critical provisions to protect the Title X family planning program and repeal the global gag rule in FY2020 appropriations. The letters noted the millions of people across the country and worldwide at risk for losing access to healthcare without the protections, which also enjoy bipartisan support.

Administration Activities

CDC Releases 2017 Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Data

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released 2017 surveillance data for viral hepatitis within the United States. The data show that in 2017 there were an estimated 6,700 new cases of acute hepatitis A, 22,100 new cases of acute hepatitis B, and 44,300 new cases of acute hepatitis C. Rising infection rates for hepatitis B and C can be attributed to the use of injection drugs with adults aged 40–49 having had the highest rate of acute hepatitis B in 2017 for the first time between 2002-2017.

White House Issues Anomalies Request

The White House submitted a 21-page list of “anomalies” to Congress, seeking lawmakers’ assistance with numerous priorities in continuous resolution funding ahead of the September 30th deadline. Among the requests made by the administration was increased funding for the Ending the Epidemic plan targeting HIV/AIDS, along with others such as authorization to build portions of a southern border wall. The request assumes a continuing resolution that runs through mid-December. The AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition (ABAC), of which NASTAD is a member, sent a letter to Congressional leadership and appropriators in both the House and the Senate advocating for the inclusion of funding and the authority to begin the Ending the Epidemic Initiative in any continuing resolution passed through Congress.

$1.8 Billion in Opioid Grants Sent to States

The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced more than $1.8 billion in funding for states to combat the opioid crisis by expanding access to treatment and supporting near real-time data on the drug overdose crisis. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced over $900 million in new funding for a three-year cooperative agreement with states, territories, and localities to advance the understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic and increase prevention and response activities while the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded approximately $932 million to all 50 states as part of its State Opioid Response grants.

CDC Announces New Associate Director for Policy and Strategy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday that Dr. Robin Ikeda has joined the agency as its Associate Director for Policy and Strategy. Dr. Ikeda has held a variety of positions within the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), working on youth violence, suicide, and motor vehicle crashes as well as NCIPC’s Associate Director for Science and at one point Acting Director of the Center. Most recently, she served as Deputy Director for Non-Infectious Diseases.

Resources

DKBmed is hosting a series of courses on hepatitis B as part of Project ECHO. ECHO HBV Bootcamp is a mentorship program in which learners present cases and learn from recognized experts, with the goal of reducing treatment disparities and improve outcomes in communities. Registration is now open.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and George Washington University have released a new survey and analysis on funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs). The survey found that CHCs across the country are considering steps to reduce staffing, close locations, and eliminate or reduce services as they cope with uncertainty about their future financing.

CDC has relaunched its Act Against AIDS campaign as Let’s Stop HIV Together. The campaign seeks to work with communities, grassroots partners, and providers to prevent HIV among the hardest-hit populations and includes resources and partnerships aimed at stopping HIV stigma and promoting HIV testing, prevention, and treatment.

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) will host a webinar tomorrow Tuesday, September 17th on the prevalence of HIV in underrepresented populations including the Hispanic/Latinx and LGBTQ community as well as learn about the CDC "Let's Stop HIV Together" Provider Campaigns. Click here to register.

MMWR - Impact of Public Health Interventions on Drinking Water–Associated Outbreaks of Hepatitis A — United States, 1971–2017;

State Strategies to Address Opioid Use Disorder Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Infants Prenatally Exposed to Substances, Including Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Ending the Epidemic

amfAR recently launched its free and interactive Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) database providing information on policy, services, and demographic and epidemiological indicators across EHE jurisdictions.

Job Opportunities                   

Hepatitis B Policy Fellow – Washington, DC

The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) is seeking a Hepatitis B Policy Fellow to coordinate the organization’s hepatitis B federal policy work. The fellowship is a year-long position that will continue AAPCHO’s work educating members of Congress and federal agency stakeholders of the impact of the opioid epidemic on increasing hepatitis B cases in the United States and work with external partners to increase awareness and administration of hepatitis B vaccination among adults, as well as increase hepatitis B testing.

Administrative Officer (UMAP) – North Carolina

North Carolina’s Division of Public Health is accepting applications for an Administrative Officer. This position will be responsible for managing the HMAP sub-program Uninsured/Underinsured Medication Assistance Program (UMAP), supervising the UMAP staff, and for assuring that the program is in compliance with all federal requirements.

Upcoming Conferences

NASTAD National HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting

The NASTAD National HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting “Leveraging Integrated Programs to End the Epidemics” will be held December 3-5, 2019 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Online registration will remain open until November 1 with early bird registration open until September 30.

NASTAD’s HIV Cluster Response Institute

NASTAD’s HIV Cluster Response Institute, part of the Southern Capacity Building Institute Series, will be held November 13-14, 2019 in Atlanta, GA. Registration will be open through October 15.

ASTHO 2019 Annual Meeting and Policy Summit

ASTHO 2019 Annual Meeting and Policy Summit will be held from September 23-25 in Bethesda, MD. Over 300 public health leaders will discuss emergent issues in state and territorial public health and share best practices for creating optimal health.