Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Meredith McCarthy June 15, 2020

Hill Happenings

Coronavirus Relief Package  

The White House and Republican negotiators intend to wait until after the July 4th recess (July 21) to begin negotiations on the next piece of stimulus legislation, which is ten days before CARES Act provisions are set expire. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has suggested the next stimulus package should not go above $1 trillion. The House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in mid-May, which included additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ryan White Program, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program NASTAD is advocating for additional funding for these programs and health departments. 

Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO-1) and Fred Upton (R-MI-6), who championed the 2016 21st Century Cures Act are beginning work on the next iteration and are pitching congressional leaders to include some of their priorities in the next pandemic response bill, including tweaks to telemedicine and digital health regulations. 

Administrative Activities 

The FDA Issues New Information on OraQuick In-Home HIV Test 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published new information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test kit is designed to allow users to take an HIV test anonymously and in private with the collection of an oral fluid sample and find out their result within 20 to 40 minutes in their own home or other private location. 

HHS Roll Back of 1557 Non-Discrimination Protections 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized its revisions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) 1557 regulation, making sweeping changes that eliminate important protections across healthcare access and insurance. With cruel precision, the rule removes requirements for healthcare providers to provide access to services for LGBTQ populations and severely limits requirements for plans to provide non-discriminatory benefit plan designs. The rule rolls back several non-discrimination protections, including significantly narrowing the covered entities subject to the rule; removing prohibitions on discrimination based on gender identify and sexual orientation; creating stronger religious exemptions; and removing language access requirements. NASTAD issued a statement denouncing the rollback.  

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that it will file a lawsuit challenging the Administration’s decision to roll back the 1557 protections.  

Upcoming Conferences 

2020 340B Coalition Virtual Summer Conference 

The 340B Coalition Summer Conference will be held virtually July 20-29, 2020. Early-Bird Rates expire June 17. 


Supreme Court Rules on LGBT Workplace Discrimination 

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination, handing the movement for LGBT equality a stunning victory. The vote was 6 to 3, with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.  

California Issues Notice to Take Action in Reducing HIV 

Ricardo Lara, Commissioner of the California Department of Insurance, issued a notice to expand access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as part of California’s “Getting to Zero” plan. In the notice, Commissioner Lara stated all disability insurance companies providing health insurance coverage in California informing them that their obligation to provide preventive health services coverage for HIV PrEP without cost sharing for patients begins on June 11th.  

Kaiser Family Foundation Issues New Fact Sheet on State Medicaid Management of Prescription Drugs for HIV Treatment and Prevention 

The Kaiser Family Foundation has issued a new fact sheet on state Medicaid management of prescription drugs for HIV treatment and prevention. The fact sheet points out that spending on antiretrovirals (ARVs), the drugs used to treat and prevent HIV, has an outsized impact on state Medicaid programs. States may enact policies to either control costs and limit access or may instead use policies to promote access to certain classes, including ARVs.  

Self-Testing for HIV and STIs through Local Health Departments: NACCHO Survey Reveals Barriers, Opportunities 

The National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO] has recently received many inquiries about the landscape of self-testing for HIV and STIs at local health departments (LHDs). In May 2020, NACCHO began to collect information on self-testing via a short survey distributed to a convenience sample of NACCHO’s members and listserv subscribers, including NACCHO’s HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis Workgroup and Sentinel Network. The initial survey was completed by 35 LHDs from all regions of the country, including 11 LHDs in jurisdictions prioritized by Phase I of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative.  The survey revealed a significant gap in the ability of LHDs to offer self-testing for HIV and STIs, with the majority of respondents (27 LHDs) indicating that they do not provide self-testing options. The findings are available here and characterize both high interests from LHDs in implementing self-testing strategies as well as numerous challenges, barriers and lessons learned from LHD experiences in developing self-testing programs.

Job Postings 

Senior Associate — Washington, DC  

NASTAD is seeking a Senior Associate for the Health Systems Integration team. The Senior Associate, Health Systems Integration provides administrative and substantive support for NASTAD’s technical assistance and capacity building assistance for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs (RWHAP), with a focus on Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative activities. This position works closely with entire Health Systems Integration and Health Care Access teams to support programmatic activities.  

Manager — Washington, DC  

NASTAD is seeking a Manger for the Policy & Legislative Affairs team. The Manager, Policy & Legislative Affairs plays a vital role in managing the development and implementation of hepatitis-related federal appropriations strategies, including for the NASTAD convened Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership, and legislation related to hepatitis prevention, care and treatment issues.  This position manages the day-to-day activities necessary to implement hepatitis-related federal legislative and regulatory goals.  The Manager also interfaces with governmental agencies, national organizations, coalitions and other non-governmental organizations to promote NASTAD’s legislative and policy agenda.  In addition, this position interfaces with NASTAD members to develop their understanding of the federal policy process and respond to their inquiries.  Demonstrated ability to execute projects in a timely manner is also required.    

Manager — Washington, DC  

NASTAD is seeking a Manager for the Health Care Access team. The Manager, Health Care Access plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity and priority of addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs within health departments. Under direction from the Associate Director, Health Care Access, the Manager will play a key role the Health Care Access programs technical assistance efforts, having a strong voice in the development of NASTAD’s cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) and Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative activities. The Manager will provide quantitative analytics and qualitative analyses regarding the impact of health system changes on health department programs and people living with HIV (PLWH).    

CAREAssist Program Manager—Oregon  

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Public Health Division (PHD), HIV, STD and TB Section in Portland, OR is recruiting for a CAREAssist Program Manager to lead Oregon’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The CAREAssist Program Manager will work to assure quality services are provided to Oregonians living with HIV, to improve health outcomes. CAREAssist helps eligible Oregonians access and pay for life-saving medications, medical and dental care.  

Deputy Director—Maryland  

This position serves as the Deputy Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Health Services Bureau within Prevention and Health Promotion Administration. The Deputy Director collaborates with the Director in planning, implementing and evaluating the internal operations of the Bureau in support of efforts to develop healthcare delivery systems responding to the needs to all Marylanders. Key functions include administrative oversight, regulatory and programmatic compliance, operational planning and evaluation, and staff development. The Deputy Director provides administrative supervision to the Bureau leadership team, which includes the Chiefs of the Centers of HIV Prevention and Health Services, the Maryland AIDS Drug Assistance Program (MADAP), HIV/STI Integration and Capacity, Harm Reduction Services, Viral Hepatitis, HIV Surveillance, Epidemiology and Evaluation, and STI Prevention. The position may act for the Director at his/her direction.  

ADAP Manager—Alaska  

The Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association is seeking a Manager for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The Manager is a member of the client service team and is responsible for implementing the ADAP program and supervising the ADAP Coordinator. The ideal candidate will have a strong understanding of insurance programs, eligibility and enrollment, including Medicaid, Medicare part D, and open enrollment through the Affordable Care Act. In collaboration with community partners, the ADAP Manager will provide individualized client-level care coordination services and other assistance to maintain access to medical care and HIV treatment through the ADAP. This includes the provision of benefits counseling and direct assistance with applications for public and private insurance and other financial assistance programs.  

Assistant Commissioner — 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.  

Chief of Global Communications – Flexible    

Prevention Action Campaign (PAC) is seeking applicants for the Chief of Global Communications (CGC). The CGC is a critical senior global leadership position responsible for building a new communications function and team to oversee PAC's communications work with domestic and international partners. Working closely with the PAC senior leadership team and ambassadors, and in collaboration with U=U partners, the CGC will develop and implement PAC's new communications strategy. The communications team will create, curate, and share outstanding U=U resources to support and expand U=U's growing network and build upon the movement's success disseminating the U=U science worldwide.  

Community Health Worker/Contact Tracer—Maryland 

The Baltimore Health Corps is looking for a Community Health Worker/Contact Tracer to assist in addressing the economic and public health crises caused by COVID-19. The Community Health Worker (CHW) will be a part of the COVID-19 response team at the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD). Under general supervision by a direct supervisor, the Community Health Worker will be working as a public health representative. The person will be working on activities such as contact tracing (approximately 70%), public health messaging (approximately 20%), and any other public health activities as directed (10%). As the needs to the response will change over time, the role of the CHW will also adapt to public health needs. 

Viral Hepatitis Policy Fellow—Washington, D.C./Remote 

The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable seeks a Viral Hepatitis Policy Fellow to coordinate its policy work. The Viral Hepatitis Fellowship is a year-long remote position, with the possibility of renewal. Due to the need for meetings with federal lawmakers, the employee shall be based in commuting distance to Washington, D.C. The Fellowship will be awarded to a medical, public health, or policy professional interested in health equity; specifically in strengthening the collaboration between key stakeholders and government, highlighting key gaps in policy and service delivery, and working with partners to address the disparate impact of viral hepatitis among underserved populations. 

Director of Operations—Washington 

The Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) is seeking a Director of Operations to join their Executive Team. As a member of the Executive Team, the Director of Operations will report to the Executive Director (ED) and will maintain positive community partnerships and ensure smooth functioning of the agency. The Director of Operations will further develop and streamline HEP’s operations infrastructure. They will work with the Executive Team in activities related to improving HEP’s organizational health and enhancing HEP’s strategic vision and commitment to health equity. The Director of Operations will work closely with the Executive Team and Board of Directors to ensure HEP’s mission and values are reflected in the plan for long-term sustainability and viability of the organization. 

News Bulletin

I Lived Through the AIDS Crisis. Here’s How We Take Care of Each Other Now. 

“I promised that I would fight for the rights of people who were suffering from HIV/AIDS, a fight we began together. I fought that fight for decades in my personal and professional life. Thirty years later, I am renewing my vow to Eddie, as the tsunami of COVID-19 spreads death and devastation. While the two pandemics are transmitted in different ways, the viruses that cause them reveal two common and tragic truths: Pandemics kill the most vulnerable and oppressed people disproportionately, and racist and bigoted people use pandemics as opportunities to blame, hate and punish. While I learned this lesson as a young gay man, it is unfortunately true for all vulnerable people.” 

Learn How the HIV Community Can Adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic 

“COVID-19 creates risks for all of us, especially for those of us who live at the intersections of multiple identities and HIV,” said Jesse Milan Jr., president and CEO of AIDS United. “Our community has long known that public health crises disproportionately impact people of color, LGBTQ people, people of low income and those living with chronic health conditions. Through this series, AIDS United will continue to share strategies for adapting your programs and services in this new environment, information on what is happening at federal and grassroots levels, and how together we can advocate for what we need in the COVID-19 crisis and for ending the HIV epidemic.” 

American Medical Association: Doctors To Work To End Police Brutality, Racism In Healthcare 

“The AMA’s board of trustees said the nation’s largest doctor group “denounces police brutality and all forms of racially-motivated violence.” The AMA effort comes as protesters across the U.S. speak out against the killing of George Floyd with many national groups using the period of unrest as an opportunity to change and revise policy.” 

HIV Organizations Putting out Statements Supporting #BLM: Show Me the Receipts 

“Today in America, Black gay, bisexual, and same-gender-loving adolescent boys and men are the most HIV-impacted population by scope and scale, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What does that mean within the Black gay community? The HIV response in America has utterly failed this population.”