Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

Senate Democrats Revive Efforts to Lower Drug Costs 

On July 6, Senate Democrats released legislative text for a bill that would empower the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate the price of certain drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. Additionally, Senate Democrats announced that they secured internal consensus to pass the bill, suggesting a new unity within the Democratic caucus on key health priorities after similar proposals failed to receive full support of all Senate Democrats. The bill would also repeal the controversial Medicare Part D rebate rule and installs a cap on monthly cost-sharing payments for Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Democrats will attempt to pass the proposal via the budget reconciliation process, which allows Democrats to bypass the Senate filibuster and pass legislation with a simple majority.

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations  

On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved (32-24) the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) subcommittee spending bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023), teeing up a full House floor vote on the LHHS bill as part of a FY2023 spending minibus package. Although appropriators may not stick to the budgetary totals established by the current deeming resolution (H.R. 1151), the House spending minibus will serve as the starting point for appropriations negotiations in the absence of a bipartisan budget resolution. Please refer to NASTAD’s appropriations chart for the full details on the spending bill. 

NASTAD will continue to monitor the appropriations process and advocate for the highest funding level on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.  

Administration Activities 

White House ONAP Hosts Historic Prosecutor Roundtable on HIV Criminal Law 

On June 30, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) convened a prosecutor roundtable to address ways to reduce the prosecution of HIV and other disease-specific criminal laws. Nearly 50 state and local prosecutors from jurisdictions across the country joined health department officials and national infectious disease experts to discuss scientific advancements in the treatment of infectious diseases and review data on state laws and enforcement of so-called HIV exposure crimes across the country. This meeting was part of a multi-year project launched by the Center for HIV Law & Policy (CHLP) and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA). NASTAD members and staff joined the conversation.

CDC Announces Expanded Monkeypox Testing at Commercial Laboratories 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Labcorp would be the first commercial laboratory to begin testing for monkeypox, starting July 6. Labcorp anticipates that it will be able to perform up to 10,000 tests per week, doubling current testing capacity. The boost in testing is a key component of the Administration’s monkeypox strategy, and will facilitate greater detection of the virus as cases continue to rise. Four other commercial laboratories are expected to start testing for the monkeypox virus by the end of the month.


CDC MMWR: Rapid Diagnostic Testing for Response to the Monkeypox Outbreak — Laboratory Response Network, United States, May 17–June 30, 2022 

Harm Reduction Journal: Implementation and sustainability of safe consumption sites: a qualitative systematic review and thematic synthesis 

“Safe consumption sites (SCSs) serve diverse populations of people who use drugs (PWUD) and public health objectives. SCS implementation began in the 1980s, and today, there are at least 200 known SCSs operating in over twelve countries. While a growing literature supports their effectiveness as a harm reduction strategy, there is limited information on contextual factors that may support or hinder SCS implementation and sustainability. We aimed to fill this gap in knowledge by reviewing existing qualitative studies on SCSs.” 

SAMHSA NOFO: State Opioid Response Grant Program 

SAMHSA is announcing a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding opportunity that will provide nearly $1.5 billion to states and territories to help address the Nation’s opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. The SOR grant program provides formula funding to states and territories for increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), and for supporting prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and other concurrent substance use disorders (SUD). Applications are due July 18.

Job Postings 

Intern, Policy and Legislative Affairs – NASTAD 

The Policy and Legislative Affairs (PLA) Intern will assist the PLA team in the implementation of NASTAD’s legislative and policy positions on federal appropriations and authorization legislation related to HIV and hepatitis issues. The PLA Intern supports the day-to-day legislative activity needed to implement federal legislative and regulatory goals. The PLA Intern will assist in tracking, monitoring, researching, and preparing advocacy documents on relevant HIV and hepatitis policy issues and legislation and coordinate and participate in Hill visits. 

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.  

Social Innovations Team Lead – Baltimore, MD 

Baltimore City Health Department is seeking to fill the position of the Social Innovations Team Lead for the Bureau of Clinical Services and HIV/STI Prevention. The HIV/STI Social Innovations Team is a unique and visionary program at Baltimore City Health Department that utilizes a human-centered design approach to engage with the Baltimore community on issues related to HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention.  The team creates innovative, original, and engaging programming to involve the community in the heart of the Health Department’s work.  

Project Data Manager, Syringe Service Program – University of Washington 

We are hiring for a Project Data Manager (Research Consultant) to work closely with the principal investigator, project coordinator, survey site staff, CDC personnel, and other support staff to enact all data-related components of Project NEXUS. This position will supervise the NEXUS data team, including two research assistants, lead data analysis, and be the main point of contact for the CDC data management team. They will also provide support for the Dave Purchase Memorial Survey and the National Harm Reduction TA Center as needed. 

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, and analyzing exposure data utilizing epidemiological and statistical methods. 

Hepatitis Surveillance Data Analyst – New Orleans, Louisiana 

This position is responsible for the data analysis activities for the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHHP), in the Hepatitis Surveillance unit. Data utilized for Hepatitis Surveillance activities include Hepatitis laboratory data, Case Report Forms, Provider Report Forms, Linkage to Cure data, investigation data, Medicaid data, and data from related sources and programs. This position will implement and coordinate data analysis activities to monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting hepatitis elimination within the state. All activities must be completed in accordance with the security and confidentiality guidelines required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHHP. 

Assistant Commissioner - Health Department – Baltimore, 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.   

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 

10 Years Later, Where Are My Options? 

“Yet all these years later, we are confronted with the reality that as of 2019, only 9% of black Americans who could benefit from PrEP were currently taking the medication. And we consider this a high mark since the Covid pandemic makes it less likely to have increased opportunities for people to gain access to PrEP. However, opportunities for success remain. We now have evidence-based approaches to PrEP access and a distinct possibility that we could finally deliver what it takes to make programs work and give people what they need to make the choices in their lives around taking PrEP.” 

Biden unveils executive order to protect abortion access 

“President Biden signed an executive order Friday aimed at preserving some access to abortion services, but again acknowledged Congress has ultimate control over the issue right now… The executive order builds off some of the administration’s previously announced efforts, and is limited in scope. It provides some incremental measures to protect access to emergency medical care for women who will seek abortions in states that ban it.” 

‘The tide is coming back’: Bracing for a new global health fight 

“After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world recorded a 20 percent increase in the overall death rate and the first decline in global life expectancy in a century. The virus has killed millions across the globe — and shut economies, ravaged health systems and slashed the health care workforce… Now, monkeypox infections are causing some countries to scramble for vaccines. Combined, global officials confront health emergencies that are increasingly dire — and deadly — as nations wrestle with putting up money to curb their growth.”