Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

FY2025 Appropriations

Republicans are working to select a new House Appropriations Committee (HAC) Chair after Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX-12) stepped down from leadership following the completion of fiscal year 2024 (FY2024) appropriations bills on March 23.  On April 9, the GOP Steering Committee recommended Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04) to chair the HAC, and his nomination was later approved by the full House floor on April 10. Rep. Cole is the longest serving Native American in the House of Representatives and is an experienced appropriator. Rep. Cole has signaled that he wants to work quickly to close out the fiscal year 2025 (FY2025) process, marking a departure from the protracted spending cycles of the past few years. He has formerly advocated for strong funding to health research programs and the Indian Health Service.

On April 16, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) will hold a hearing on the FY2025 Executive Budget Request to Congress. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will appear before the Senate LHHS subcommittee to provide context for the Biden administration’s FY2025 Executive Budget Request to Congress.

NASTAD will continue to monitor the congressional appropriations process and advocate for the highest possible funding for HIV, hepatitis, and drug user health programs.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to support the Community Health Worker Access Act

On April 8, NASTAD joined over 270 community health worker (CHW) and public health organizations and called on Congress to support the Community Health Worker Access Act (S. 3892). The bill would establish provider reimbursement and patient access without copays for two new categories of CHW services in the Medicare program. Additionally, the bill would create an enhanced Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for CHW services. These payment structure modifications would strengthen the CHW workforce and improve the delivery of coordinated, culturally competent, and whole-person care offered by CHWs, including HIV and viral hepatitis services. 

Administration Activities 

HRSA Announces New Director of the Office of Pharmacy Affairs

On April 8, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) announced that Chantelle Britton would serve as the Director of the Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) within the Office of Special Health Initiatives (OSHI). Britton has served as Acting Director of OPA since December 2023 and was formerly a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director of OPA among other roles at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As Director, Britton will continue to provide strategic leadership and oversight for the 340B Program and will guide OPA’s overall policy and implementation work. Michelle Herzog will continue to serve an essential OPA leadership role as Deputy Director of OPA.

NASTAD Submits Comment on 2025 and 2027 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey

On April 9, NASTAD joined a coalition of organizations and signed onto a comment letter in response to an information collection request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2025 and 2027 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The YRBS is a school-based survey that assesses priority health risk behaviors related to the major preventable causes of mortality, morbidity, and social problems among both youth and young adults in the United States. The coalition strongly supports the retention of sexual orientation and transgender identity (SOGI) indicators on the 2025 and 2027 NYRBS and encourages the CDC include measures that would allow respondents to voluntarily self-report that they are non-binary, Two-Spirit, and intersex. 

NASTAD Calls on the Biden Administration to Protect CDC COVID Relief Funds

On April 9, NASTAD joined a coalition of organizations and urged HHS and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to protect COVID relief funds housed under the CDC. As a result of the 2023 bipartisan debt limit compromise, the COVID relief funds were subject to rescissions, which included cuts to disease intervention specialist programs. The coalition highlighted the important role of the emergency relief funds to address emerging threats, including mpox, and the need to maintain investments towards public health surveillance infrastructure and workforce. 

FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization for Labcorp’s Mpox PCR Home Collection Diagnostic Test

On April 10, Labcorp announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its mpox PCR Test Home Collection Kit. This EUA marks the first mpox at-home collection kit authorized by FDA and is available to physicians to order for patients 18 years of age or older who are suspected of mpox infection. Labcorp will send the test kit directly to patients for at-home collection, which includes detailed instructions for patients on correctly collecting a lesion swab, securing the sample in the provided collection tube, and preparing the package for return to an authorized laboratory for analysis. Results are electronically delivered to the prescribing physician and made available to the patient in Labcorp's patient portal.

HRSA Announces First-Ever Funding Opportunity for Pre-Release Care Coordination of People Leaving Incarceration

On April 10, HRSA announced a first-ever funding opportunity to support the provision of pre-release healthcare coordination for people leaving incarceration. The Quality Improvement Fund – Transitions in Care for Justice-Involved Populations (QIF-TJI) program will provide $51 million for HRSA-funded health centers to support the provision of health services to individuals during the 90 days prior to their release to help them return to the community by expanding access to primary health care, including mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The program priorities include reducing overdose drug risk, managing chronic conditions, and preventing, screening, diagnosing, and treating hepatitis C virus (HCV), HIV, syphilis, and other infectious diseases. Applications are due Monday, June 10. Applicants can join a TA webinar at 11 am on Wednesday, April 24.

HUD Proposes Changes to Protect Access to Federally Assisted Housing Programs for People with Criminal Records

On April 10, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a proposed rule and request for comments titled Reducing Barriers to HUD-Assisted Housing. The proposed rule would revise existing regulations that govern admission for applicants with criminal records or a history of involvement with the criminal justice system and eviction or termination of assistance of persons on the basis of illegal drug use, drug-related criminal activity, or other criminal activity. The rule is meant to reduce unnecessary exclusions from HUD programs that disproportionately harm people of color, people with disabilities including substance use disorder, and other historically marginalized and underserved communities. Comments are due by June 10, 2024.


CDC DHP: National Transgender HIV Testing Day (NTHD) Dear Colleague Letter

World Health Organization (WHO): 

KFF: Nearly a Quarter of People Who Say They Were Disenrolled from Medicaid During the Unwinding Are Now Uninsured

“A new KFF national survey finds that 23% of adults who say they were disenrolled from Medicaid since early 2023 report being uninsured now. Overall, 19% of adults who had Medicaid prior to the start of unwinding say they were disenrolled at some point in the past year. Of this group, 70% were left at least temporarily uninsured, while 30% already had another form of health coverage in place.”

Job Opportunities

Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator – Austin, TX

Under direction of the Prevention Unit, provides highly advanced, senior-level consultative services and technical assistance as the DSHS viral hepatitis prevention coordinator. Oversees implementation and maintenance of viral hepatitis prevention efforts by identifying ways to integrate viral hepatitis prevention, vaccination, testing, and linkage to care into existing public health, clinical care, and community settings. Responsible for developing a DSHS viral hepatitis prevention plan as well as legislatively-mandated plans, including working with branch staff to solicit input from the public, including experts on Hepatitis, on the tenets of the plan. Apply by April 23.

Program Content and Training Specialist, Supporting Harm Reduction Programs (SHaRP) – University of Washington

This position is part of a cooperative agreement award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide technical assistance about monitoring and evaluation to syringe services programs (SSPs) as part of the National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center. One of the primary projects of this award is to provide technical assistance (TA) to SSPs for monitoring and evaluation activities. The University of Washington is working in collaboration with the CDC, SAMHSA, NASTAD, the National Harm Reduction Coalition, and other TA partners to provide a suite of technical assistance support to individual programs. 

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 


No, a Jail Is Not an Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Facility

“People with opioid use disorder (OUD) are disproportionately represented in jails and prisons, with close to one in five reporting regular opioid use prior to incarceration. Oftentimes, it is the substance use itself leading to incarceration. While many have been conditioned to believe hitting rock bottom is necessary for recovery, this line of thinking has proven harmful and misunderstands that jails and prisons are in some way a therapeutic intervention.”

Elevated mpox cases spur efforts to avoid summer spread

“Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer of Jynneos, announced last week that its product would now be commercially available in the U.S., expanding access and allowing patients to get vaccinated where they’re able to or where they’re more comfortable.  A study released by the CDC last year found that two-thirds of people eligible for mpox vaccination remained unimmunized. “

Congress Likely to Kick the Can on Covid-Era Telehealth Policies

“Most of the proposals focus on how Medicare covers telehealth services. But the rules affect patients on all types of insurance plans because typically private insurers and some government programs follow Medicare’s example. Without congressional action, virtual health care services like audio-only calls or meeting online with specialty doctors — such as an occupational therapist — could end. The bills would also continue to allow rural health clinics and other health centers to offer telehealth services while waiving a requirement for in-person mental health visits.”