Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities
House Republicans Pass Debt Ceiling, Government Funding Proposal
On April 26, the House of Representatives passed Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA-20) broad-reaching debt limit proposal, the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 (H.R.2811). The proposal would temporarily increase the debt limit in order to avert a default on the national debt, which could happen as soon as June. However, it would also impose sweeping budget cuts by capping FY2024 spending to Congressionally approved spending levels for fiscal year 2022, which would amount to a $4.5 trillion across-the-board spending cut. House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) and President Biden quickly panned the proposal, which is a nonstarter for Democrats, and called on Speaker McCarthy to negotiate in good faith to resolve the debt limit crisis ahead of the debt limit “x date.”
The debt ceiling discussions also preclude Congress from advancing FY2024 spending bills until a compromise is achieved, delaying progress on FY2024 appropriations until the late summer or fall. Despite this, House Appropriations Chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX-12) is moving ahead with the lower chamber’s budget proposal for FY2024 without input from Democrats, anticipating votes in June. Although Republicans can leverage their majority in the House to advance the package, it will ultimately require Senate approval to become law. NASTAD will continue to monitor the appropriations process and advocate for strong funding for HIV, hepatitis, and drug user health programs in FY2024.
NASTAD Calls on Congress to Authorize a National HCV Elimination Plan
On April 21, NASTAD joined a coalition of 124 organizations and called on Congress to pass legislation authorizing the national hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination plan proposed in the FY2024 Executive Budget Request to Congress. If passed, the legislation would support the development of a point-of-care diagnostic HCV test, scale up access to curative HCV medications through a national subscription model and zero cost-sharing for patients with Medicare Part D coverage, and expand outreach, testing, and treatment infrastructure and provider education. The advocates highlighted the elimination plan’s significant downstream cost savings to the health system and the projected 24,000 prevented HCV-related deaths. However, despite its benefits, the plan faces an uphill battle before securing Congressional approval, largely due to the significant downpayment required in FY2024.
CDC Launches HCV Treatment Locator Widget
Ahead of Hepatitis Awareness Month, CDC launched a new web tool that health departments and community partners can leverage to help patients identify local providers who can treat hepatitis C virus (HCV). The Hepatitis C Treatment Locator Widget uses information from the CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) to connect consumers to verified HCV treatment providers. To embed the HCV treatment locator widget to your webpage, download the widget code from the NPIN Widget Library. You can also add your clinic to the database through this online request form.
HUD Drafts Action Plan to Improve Housing Access for People with Criminal Records
On April 24, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would take action to ensure that qualified people are not denied the opportunity to access housing solely due to a criminal history record. In the coming weeks, HUD will issue a proposed rule modifying regulations governing public housing agencies and HUD-subsidized housing providers to prevent unnecessary denials of housing assistance to people with criminal history records. HUD will also issue guidance and offer technical assistance to HUD-affiliated owners and grantees to ensure the policy changes enhance public health and safety. The announcement follows a comprehensive review of HUD regulations, policies, and guidance geared toward increasing opportunities for qualified individuals and families to receive housing assistance from HUD. The changes could benefit people living with HIV who could not access housing benefits due to a criminal record, like those offered through the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
EHE Quarterly Stakeholder Webinar: Innovative Housing Collaborations
- Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, from 1:00–2:30 pm EST
Register now for the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP)-hosted Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative quarterly stakeholder webinar on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, from 1:00–2:30 pm EST. The webinar will highlight innovative housing collaborations across the United States.
NASTAD Resource: Wound Care and Medical Triage for People Who Use Drugs
This comprehensive guide provides information and recommendations regarding general health, safer use practices, common viral, fungal, parasitic, and other injection-related infections, overdose and overamp, tapering, withdrawal, medications for opioid use disorder, and seeking medical care. This resource was developed through the CDC-funded National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center in collaboration with project consultant Kacey Byczek.
CDC MMWR: Rapid Analysis of Drugs: A Pilot Surveillance System To Detect Changes in the Illicit Drug Supply To Guide Timely Harm Reduction Responses — Eight Syringe Services Programs, Maryland, November 2021–August 2022
Among 364 samples from drug paraphernalia collected at eight syringe services programs during November 2021–August 2022 that tested positive for fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, 80% also contained xylazine (an animal sedative).
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse at U. Michigan Law School: Policies for Expanding Hepatitis C Testing and Treatment in United States Prisons and Jails
This project proposes model policies for scaling up Hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and treatment in United States prisons and jails. It also collects and makes available litigation documents and other materials related to HCV testing and treatment in prisons and jails, including: settlement agreements; judicial opinions; expert and monitor reports; and existing HCV policies.
CDC DVH Webinar: Hepatitis C Virus: Barriers to Treatment and Community-focused Primary Care
- Date: Thursday, May 11 at 3:30 pm ET
In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Liver Foundation (ALF) is hosting a webinar for liver specialists and public health providers. During the call, presenters will share recent data indicating that too many Americans remain unaware of their hepatitis C infection and curative treatment continues to be delayed. Presenters will also discuss adult screening recommendations and strategies for addressing gaps in viral hepatitis care.
CDC DVH Webinar: Hepatitis B Screening Recommendations
- Date: Tuesday, May 16 at 1:00 pm ET
In recognition of Hepatitis Awareness Month, the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting a webinar to brief clinicians and other health care providers about the release of new CDC recommendations for hepatitis B screening and testing. During the call, Dr. Erin Conners will discuss how the updated recommendations differ from the 2008 recommendations, explain the rationale for the changes and why the updated recommendations are beneficial. Dr. Conners will also share key messages. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions about the science supporting these changes and the expected impact of these recommendations.
NASTAD Webinars: Syphilis and Drug User Health Webinar Series
The NASTAD Drug User Health Team is pleased to announce an upcoming webinar series exploring syphilis among communities of people who use drugs, in partnership with AIDS United, NACCHO, NCSD, and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. This webinar series consists of five monthly sessions where those working on STIs – specifically syphilis – and those working in harm reduction and drug user health will be brought together to learn from each other, share promising practices, and highlight effective cross-sector partnerships. To join the webinars please register for them here:
- Still Trep-in’: Ongoing Responses to Syphilis in Indian Country – Tuesday, May 30, from 3-4:30 pm ET
- State Health Department Innovations at the Intersection of Syphilis & Drug User Health – Tuesday, June 27, from 3-4:30 pm ET
- “Solo Makes You Go Slow”: Local Partnerships Addressing Syphilis Among People Who Use Drugs – Tuesday, July 25, from 3-4:30 pm ET
Hep B United Webinar: Universal Adult Hepatitis B Recommendations are Here - Best Practices for Implementing Universal Screening and Vaccination
- Date: May 1, 2023, at 03:00 PM ET
Adult hepatitis B guidelines from screening and vaccination have shifted from risk-based to universal. What does it look like in practice? Join us for the second part of our webinar series as panelists provide best practices on how they have been able to implement universal screening and vaccination within their communities, challenges they have faced and the findings of a brand new Call-to-Action to eliminate hepatitis B through the new universal recommendations.
NACCHO is accepting applications for two related funding opportunities to support the evaluation of STI and harm reduction (HR) services. Applicants must already offer integrated STI and HR services. One application is intended to fund organizations that are primarily STI service providers while the other is intended to fund organizations that are primarily HR service providers. Applicants can request up to $50,000 and applications are due Friday, May 12th. Access additional information here.
NHRC/NHCHC Conference: Harm Reduction and HCH: Supporting People Who Use Drugs Across the Spectrum of Care
Please join NHRC and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) on May 15 in Baltimore for a full-day session on harm reduction practices to support people experiencing homelessness who use drugs. Taught by expert faculty from both the harm reduction and health care for the homeless communities, the session will cover practical strategies for dismantling stigma, explore language and policies that support people who use drugs, offer in-depth breakout sessions, and highlight where the harm reduction movement is headed. The session is from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EDT, with breakfast and lunch included. This learning opportunity is a pre-conference institute (PCI) that is part of NHCHC’s annual conference May 15-18. Attendees can register for just the PCI or for all of the four-day conference.
Viral Hepatitis Database Analyst – San Francisco, CA
Heluna Health invites applications for the full-time position of Viral Hepatitis Data Management Analyst in the ARCHES Branch at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The Data Analyst will work with the ARCHES Viral Hepatitis Epidemiologist II to improve ongoing hepatitis data reporting and analysis. Responsibilities include higher level data cleaning tasks, data analysis and reporting, coordination with laboratory contacts to improve ELR protocols and procedures, and managing special projects as needed. This is a temporary (2 years), grant-funded, full-time, benefited position. Employment is provided by Heluna Health.
Chicago Department of Public Health
- Chief Racial Equity Officer/Deputy Commissioner - As a member of the CDPH executive team reporting directly to the Commissioner, the Chief Racial Equity Officer/Deputy Commissioner will oversee the Bureau of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (the “IDEA Bureau”). Newly created in 2022, the IDEA Bureau is dedicated to leading internal strategy, workforce development, community engagement, communications and other culture and process/system change initiatives rooted in the principles of racial equity. This position will supervise the following offices in the IDEA Bureau: Racial Equity & Belonging, Workforce Development, Community Engagement & Partnership, and Public Information. These offices have grown substantially in the past year, and the Chief Racial Equity Officer/Deputy Commissioner will be tasked with developing plans to nurture and sustain these new teams and functions within the department. This position will also work closely with program staff in core operational and administrative areas such as human resources, finance, and contracts to co-lead process improvement initiatives to ensure that our practices are in line with the department’s anti-racism values. Salary is $133,416 per year.
- Chief Public Health Informatics Officer/Deputy Commissioner - Reporting to the First Deputy Commissioner, this position will serve as the department’s leader for priorities related to data modernization initiatives (DMI) and data process improvement, and in this capacity will establish and guide the department’s strategic public health informatics initiatives and will oversee CDPH’s work to align with national DMI. The position will continue to build and supervise the IT and Informatics teams; and will work closely with the citywide IT team based in the Department of Assets, Information and Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, healthcare providers and other stakeholders in public health IT and informatics issues. This position will also serve as the primary liaison with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for DMI work. Salary is $146,000 per year.
Manager, Meetings and Travel – NASTAD
Under general supervision of the Associate Director, IT and Administration, the Manager, Meetings and Travel will provide management, coordination and hands-on delivery of comprehensive service and support to NASTAD members, staff members, and other stakeholders as appropriate. This position will coordinate and implement several, sometimes simultaneous, live, hybrid, and virtual events, particularly to NASTAD’s Annual and Technical Assistance Meetings. This position will monitor airline travel and purchases, manage travel-related vendors, maintain travel-related processes, reconcile meeting and travel expenses, complete appropriate forms and procedure documents, and work to fulfill NASTAD mission, goals, and objectives within the limitations of agency resources and policies and federal grant requirements.
Director, Health Care Access – NASTAD
NASTAD is recruiting for the Director of our Health Care Access program. The Director, Health Care Access plays a vital leadership role in achieving the organization’s training, technical assistance, and policy support priorities for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). The position will work closely with Tim Horn, NASTAD’s Director of Medication Access.
Viral Hepatitis Prevention Manager – Health Federation of Philadelphia
The Prevention Manager will be responsible for coordination of activities related to viral hepatitis prevention, including outreach, training, education and collaboration with appropriate programs to facilitate access to hepatitis services. This position works in close coordination with viral hepatitis surveillance activities. Apply by June 2, 2023.
Drug Trends and Technology-Based Drug Checking Analyst – New York City, NY
NYC DOHMH is looking for an analyst to work on our drug checking initiative. Currently operating in four SSPs across the city, including one of the OPCs, drug checking technicians use Bruker Infrared technology to test samples from SSP participants and provide individualized harm reduction education. This is a great opportunity for someone with strong data skills and an interest in drugs and toxicology. Please send out far and wide and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
Chief Executive Officer – Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)
Western North Carolina AIDS Project’s (WNCAP’s) mission is to provide equitable access to care and reduce harm from HIV, Hepatitis C, and drug use. WNCAP provides case management, prevention education, STD testing, harm reduction, and other support services to people living across 18 counties of western North Carolina. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the principal leadership position at WNCAP and reports to the Board of Directors.
Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC
- Chief, Prevention Branch, DVH
- NCHHSTP/DVH is recruiting for an exceptional candidate for the position of Prevention Branch Chief, Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH), National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). The incumbent will serve as Chief in the Prevention Branch, Division of Viral Hepatitis, and will participate in the division’s senior management team responsible for directing the development, administration, implementation, and evaluation of national programs to prevent and control viral hepatitis. The incumbent provides advice to the Division Director on medical and scientific policy and practices associated with program, education, and research activities in support of viral hepatitis prevention and control, including harm reduction.
Boulder County AIDS Project – Boulder, Colorado
- Prevention Coordinator: The primary duties of this position are to provide HIV/HCV/STI testing, syringe access, and street outreach services, as well as outreach education at community partner locations and events. This position provides these services in collaboration with other Prevention Department staff and key community partners, as well as enters data into databases and completes monthly reports. This position reports directly to the Prevention Director, and attends staff, department, and community partner meetings.
Florida Department of Health – Palm Beach County
To apply, please send resumes to Robert Scott, Robert.Scott@flhealth.gov. These are all $20/hr, in-office roles with possible remote flexibility.
- EHE Navigator: This position’s work will be actively guided by the Palm Beach County Ending the Epidemic (EHE) Plan, including the four pillars and their goals, objectives, strategies and activities. Incumbent will assist in the planning, coordination, implementation and monitoring of the goals, objectives, strategies and activities set forth in the Palm Beach County Ending the Epidemic (EHE) Plan, in collaboration with other Area 9 EHE funding recipients, to include, but not limited to: Palm Beach County, FoundCare, and Florida Community Health Centers.
- PrEP Navigator: This position’s work will be actively guided by the Palm Beach County Ending the Epidemic (EHE) Plan, including the four pillars and their goals, objectives, strategies and activities. Incumbent will link high-risk negative persons to available Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and non-occupational Post Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP) services with the goal of significantly reducing the number of new HIV infections among high-risk populations. Incumbent will assess and increase the knowledge, desirability, accessibility, and adherence of PrEP among referred high-risk individuals.
- Digital Media Manager: This position is responsible for developing and coordinating the area HIV digital media presence through multiple platforms. Developing digital marketing strategies, creating social media content, collaborating with community partner organizations, and creating new ad campaigns to advance Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) in Palm Beach County. Tracking data from digital campaigns to assist with EHE goals.
Executive Director, Hepatitis Education Project (HEP) – Seattle, WA (partially remote)
Reporting to a Board of Directors and in partnership with a staff of 19, the ED will lead the evolution of HEP as the organization reviews its impact to date and plans for the future in the fields of viral hepatitis and drug user health both locally and nationally.
Deputy Medical Director, HIV/STI/Viral Hepatitis/Harm Reduction – Nashville, TN
This position will serve as the Statewide Deputy Medical Director in the HIV/STI/Viral Hepatitis section. The position has cross-cutting responsibility in all program areas with potential for promotion in succession plans. Primary responsibilities include leadership and oversight of cross-cutting programs related to End the Syndemic Tennessee to tackle HIV, sexually transmitted infections, viral hepatitis and substance use disorder in an integrated manner with an outward-facing, community-engaged process.
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.
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.
Viral Hepatitis Epidemiologist - Pennsylvania Department of Health
The Department of Health is seeking a dedicated and hardworking individual to fulfill their Viral Hepatitis Coordinator/Epidemiologist position within the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. If you would like to support an organization that protects the public's health, apply today!
Pennsylvania set to ban supervised drug use sites, in setback for harm reduction
“Pennsylvania lawmakers are set to pass a new ban on supervised drug consumption, effectively ending a Philadelphia nonprofit’s long-running effort to offer a sanctioned substance-use site meant to prevent overdose and death. A bill outlawing sites that “knowingly” provide a space for drug consumption passed a committee vote by a wide margin on Tuesday. It now advances to the full state senate, where it is also expected to pass. Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, has expressed strong opposition to supervised injection sites in the past, and is expected to sign the legislation.”
A new portrait of American teenagers in crisis
“A sweeping series of surveys of U.S. high school students released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an urgent message for parents and policymakers: America’s kids are in crisis. The results of the 2021 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and dozens of local surveys create a complex portrait of fast-changing teenage population that is struggling with mental health challenges, widespread community, physical and sexual violence, and substance use. They offer the largest window to date into how the upheaval and stress of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted teenagers’ emotional, physical and mental health — and worsened existing disparities for children in marginalized communities.”
Editorial: Haven’t we learned yet? Harsher penalties won’t save us from fentanyl
“The war on drugs made fentanyl — much as it turned morphine into heroin and cocaine into crack. Illicit drug makers trying to evade authorities seek ways to pack more punch into smaller packages in order to make their wares progressively cheaper to transport, easier to hide and quicker to hook the ultimate user. Marijuana legalization activist Richard Cowan called it the iron law of prohibition: the harder the enforcement, the harder the drugs.”