Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir October 13, 2020

Hill Happenings

Health Equity and Accountability Act

Senator Mazie Hirano (D-HI) announced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2020. HEAA has been introduced in every Congress since 2007. This legislation reforms policies and expands federal health care resources for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as other underserved populations who face discrimination and barriers to care due to their immigration status, sex, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and English proficiency. The groups that comprise the HEAA Community Working Group, including NASTAD, sent an organizational letter of support to Congressional leaders expressing support for the bill. HEAA was introduced in the House by Congressman Chuy García (D-IL-4) with support from the Congressional Tri-Caucus.

COVID-19 Relief Updates

Congressional and Administration leaders remain in a deadlock over another round of COVID-19 stimulus. The House released and passed an updated version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act, which proposes an additional $100 million for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $65 million for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program. The package is unlikely to be taken up by the Senate. NASTAD will continue to monitor the appropriations process and stimulus negations and advocate for the highest funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs. 

Administrative Activity

RWHAP ADAP Annual Client-Level Data Report

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) released the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Annual Client-Level Data Report, 2018. The publication provides an in-depth look at service utilization, demographic, and socioeconomic factors among clients served by ADAP. The report includes client-level data based on age, race/ethnicity, federal poverty level, and health care coverage.

Recent HIV Clusters and Outbreaks Across the United States Among People Who Inject Drugs and Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an advisory via the Health Alert Network (HAN) for public health departments, healthcare providers, and others to highlight the possibility of increases of HIV transmission and outbreaks among people who inject drugs (PWID). The HAN includes guidance on providing clinical and public health services to address HIV among PWID, as well as general considerations for all organizations that provide health services to this population, including syringe services programs, testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus, use of PrEP, and medication for opioid use disorder. Resources for providing services to PWID in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic are also included.”

Conferences

Hepatitis Virtual Collaborative

Join NASTAD and The AIDS Institute on October 22nd for the first ever Hepatitis Virtual Collaborative! It is a partial-day opportunity for hepatitis and infectious disease advocates and patients from across the country to come together virtually to connect with each other and learn about what jurisdictions are doing to combat viral hepatitis in their communities through presentations and conversations. Best of all, it’s FREE!

Presentations will include hepatitis elimination strategies and how a syndemic approach must be taken that incorporates responses to the viral hepatitis epidemics, overdose prevention, and other public health efforts. Additional barriers to advancing hepatitis elimination will also be examined, including criminalization of hepatitis and drug use, discrimination and stigma concerns, treatment access issues in correctional settings, vaccination barriers, and health inequities. Click here to register now and stay tuned for more information on the agenda release and speakers in the coming weeks. Please reach out to Frank Hood (fhood@taimail.org) or Jasmine West (jwest@nastad.org) with any questions.

Resources

USCHA Job Fair

“The 2020 USCHA will include a Virtual Jobs Fair on Tuesday, October 20 at 2:00-3:00 PM ET. USCHA hopes to bring people needing jobs together with the HIV organizations who are hiring. NMAC encourages all organizations with open positions to participate in the event. It’s especially important to have the representation of the 57 jurisdictions targeted to receive this money so that they can share openings and take advantage of USCHA’s talent pool. This is the perfect opportunity to hire people from the communities your efforts hope to reach, particularly people in senior leadership positions. Organizations will have a mini booth that will allow them to list job announcements and directly engage and chat with potential applicants. If you have open positions, please register here. This is a free opportunity.”

Webinar: Sex Worker-Centered Harm Reduction

Date & Time: Thursday, October 15 from 4:00 – 5:15 PM ET

NASTAD will be hosting a webinar to discuss the application of harm reduction principles and practices within the sex trade. The webinar will cover HIV prevalence and prevention among people who trade sex; overlapping activities, interventions, and approaches between people who trade sex and people who use drugs; and services and partnerships that advance sex worker health. The webinar is hosted by NASTAD through the CDC-funded National Harm Reduction TA Center and will be facilitated by Justice Rivera of Reframe Health and Justice. This webinar is for anyone currently running or supporting a sex worker harm reduction program, as well as those interested in doing so. To join the webinar, please register hereAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Webinar: Integrating Anal Health into HIV Prevention Strategies

Date & Time: Thursday, October 22 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Join NASTAD for a webinar discussing anal health and the importance of integrating anal health care into HIV prevention strategies for all people, but especially for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM). The session will be open to all health departments and affiliated community partners. This webinar will discuss the connection between anal health and overall sexual health and wellness, current protocols for screening and care, as well as ways to discuss anal health screening to GBM. By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to: discuss anal health’s impact on sexual health and wellness; understand recommended anal screening protocols; and discuss anal health with clients/ patients that identify as GBM. The webinar will be recorded and shared afterwards. To join the webinar, please register here.

Protect Yourself from the Flu: Important Info for People with HIV

“Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When you get vaccinated, you reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and possibly being hospitalized or dying from flu. This season, getting a flu vaccine has the added benefit of reducing the overall burden on the health care system and saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.

We encourage you to learn more about the seasonal flu, take steps to protect yourself, and educate others. Here are some resources to help you:

Job Postings

Program Specialist IV — Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services is seeking a Program Specialist for the HIV/STD Prevention & Care Branch. The Program Specialist IV (PS IV) is responsible for ensuring that organizations that enter into written agreements with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to provide HIV, STD, and HCV programs, deliver services that are consistent with the needs of the population to be served and are in accordance with State and Federal mandates and program requirements. The PS IV ensures compliance with these requirements through advanced consultative services, formal site reviews, technical assistance visits, and desktop reviews. Administers and oversees HIV/STD/HCV prevention activities, which may include HIV testing strategies, linkage to HIV-related medical care, structural interventions, nPEP/PrEP, and varied evidence-based interventions. Plans and directs the development, implementation, and evaluation of HIV/STD/HCV programs. Collaborates closely with other colleagues within the DSHS and HHSC to develop and compose programmatic guidelines and standards, and policies and procedures, which are distributed internally and externally. Works under the direction of the HIV Prevention Manager with latitude for use of initiative and independent judgment.  This position closes on October 28, 2020.

Ending the HIV Epidemic Treatment Coordinator – Tarrant County, TX

The Ending the HIV Epidemic Treatment Coordinator oversees implementation of the Ending the HIV Epidemic grant activities for the Tarrant County HIV Administrative Agency. This position focuses on operational functions while working with community partners and sub-recipients to drive changes impacting the lives of more than 6,000 clients living with HIV. The Coordinator will assist with preparing the grant application, developing the workplan, overseeing grant-related reporting, monitoring the budget, and supervising Ending the HIV Epidemic staff. The posting may close at any time.

HIV Planner - HIV/STD DSHS Grant – UT Austin

The HIV Planner, in coordination with the UT-Austin Health Innovation and Evaluation Team and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) HIV Care Services Group and the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Branch Planning team, will perform comprehensive, advisory duties in developing, planning, and monitoring the development and implementation of HIV strategic, operational, program, and technical assistance plans.

HIV Prevention Manager—Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases is seeking one candidate to fill their Health Planning Administrator 2 role for the HIV Prevention program. The Manager would be responsible for coordinating all components of the HIV Prevention Program (e.g., managing the statewide HIV testing program, implementing high-impact prevention strategies including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and blood-borne pathogen prevention programs, managing the statewide PrEP assistance program known as PAPI (Prevention Assistance Program Interventions), collaborating with the STI Prevention program to achieve partner services and linkage to care performance measures, implementing innovative HIV testing initiatives, managing the deliverables of contractors, reducing health disparities among disproportionately impacted populations, providing leadership in the statewide community planning group and community-level interventions, demonstrating the application of feedback from stakeholders in community planning documents and activities consistent with federal guidance, provide programmatic leadership in cluster investigation and outbreak response related to HIV transmission).

Program Director (Public Health) – Washington, DC

NGA is looking to add a bright, resourceful, and organized Program Director to our Center for Best Practices team. This position reports to the Director or Deputy Director. The Program Director’s primary responsibilities will be to manage the public health portfolio, including supporting governors in their efforts to lead the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key issue areas will include preparing for and responding to public health emergencies, strengthening state public health capacity and partnerships, improving COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, addressing the spread of infectious diseases, advancing chronic disease prevention efforts, and supporting health equity and reducing health disparities for at-risk populations, among other population and public health issues. This position is open until filled.

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.

ManagerWashington, DC

NASTAD is seeking a Manager 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. 

News Bulletin

Nimble, Collaborative, Community-Driven: Lessons from Hep Free 2030, Hawai'i's New Hepatitis Elimination Strategy

“Hawai'i has one of the highest rates of liver cancer in the United States. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the leading causes of liver cancer in the state and could affect up to 63,000 people across the islands. Most adults at-risk for and living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C do not know it and therefore do not access hepatitis screening, vaccinations and/or treatment. To address this health crisis, Hep Free Hawai'i (HFH) released the state’s first hepatitis elimination plan on July 28, 2020 to coincide with World Hepatitis day.”