Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings 

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations  

Top appropriators are quickly moving to advance Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) spending discussions following the release of the President’s FY2023 Budget Request to Congress on March 28. On April 27, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary appeared before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce to testify on the agency’s FY2023 Budget Request to Congress. And on April 28, top appropriators met to initiate topline spending level negotiations for FY2023. Democrats intend to advance the spending bills on a normal timeline in order to avoid the Fiscal Year 2022 spending scenario where Congress had to issue a string of continuing resolutions to fund the government as a result of protracted spending negotiations. House lawmakers are expected to markup subcommittee spending bills in June, working to finalize a bipartisan spending package by the start of FY2023 on October 1. However, partisan battles ahead of the midterm elections could derail that timeline.

On April 25, a group of 83 House Representatives sent a Dear Colleague letter to the House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman and Ranking Member, requesting at least $11 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in FY2023. The lawmakers highlight the need to fund infectious disease prevention efforts, including bolstering health departments’ ability to develop disease surveillance infrastructure and invest in disease intervention specialists and a public health workforce. 

NASTAD is monitoring the FY2023 appropriations process and will advocate for the highest possible funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs. 

Congressional Hepatitis Caucus Introduces Resolution Observing Hepatitis B Vaccination Awareness Day 

On April 29, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-06) introduced a bipartisan resolution (H. Res. 1072) to designate April 30 as National Adult Hepatitis B (HBV) Vaccination Awareness Day. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced the Senate companion legislation (S. Res. 602). The resolution seeks to raise awareness for the HBV vaccination in order to increase the percentage of adults who are inoculated against the virus, which is currently only 30%. Additionally, the resolution aims to build on recent updates to the CDC HBV vaccination recommendations and proposed screening recommendations that call for universal HBV screening and vaccination among adults ages 19-59.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund the CDC Data Modernization Initiative 

On April 27, NASTAD joined a coalition of 107 organizations and called on top health appropriators to substantially fund the CDC Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) in the FY2023 spending bill. The coalition is requesting $250 million to develop world-class data infrastructure, including $50 million for the newly established Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA). The coalition highlights the need for robust, sustained, annual funding to ensure that the nation’s public health system can build and maintain modern, interoperable data infrastructures that capture health equity data, including at state, territorial, local, and Tribal health departments.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in FY2023 

On April 27, NASTAD joined a coalition of 42 organizations and called on top health appropriators to support sexual and reproductive health (SRH) programs in FY2023. The coalition highlights partisan attacks on CDC SRH programs, calling on lawmakers to protect the congressional intent of the programs to provide community-driven, evidence-based or informed, medically accurate, and age-appropriate approaches to SRH. Additionally, the coalition calls for robust funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) and CDC’s school-based HIV and STI prevention efforts, as well as ending funding for stigmatizing and ineffective abstinence-only programs.

Additionally, NASTAD called on top appropriators to take additional steps to support SRH in the FY2023 spending bill. The coalition of over 30 organizations highlighted supplemental legislative priorities to support SRH in the spending bill, including opposing abortion coverage bans like the Hyde and Weldon amendments, and investing and reinforcing family planning, teen pregnancy prevention, and sexual health education programs. 

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund Expanded Data Collection to Support LGBTQI+ Health 

On April 25, NASTAD joined a coalition of 43 organizations and called on appropriators to support $10 million in funding for the Census Bureau to add sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data to the American Community Survey (ACS). The funding, proposed by the Biden Administration in the Executive Budget Request to Congress, would ensure that SOGI measures collected through the ACS are understood by respondents and produce accurate results. The inclusion of SOGI data metrics will offer valuable insight into the demographics, housing security, and broader socioeconomic status of LGBTQI+ Americans and is critical to capturing a more comprehensive, accurate, and data-driven understanding of disparities faced by LGBTQI+ communities and developing evidence-based policy interventions. 

NASTAD Calls on Congress to End Pandemic Restrictions on Asylum Seekers 

On April 26, NASTAD joined over 100 organizations and called on Congress to oppose any extension of restrictions on asylum seekers under the Title 42 policy. The pandemic-era policy, issued in March 2020, blocked migrants from presenting lawful cases for asylum in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, despite the lack of evidence for its public health justification. On April 1, 2022, CDC terminated the order, citing the current public health conditions and increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19 as rendering the suspension of the right to seek asylum unnecessary. The coalition urges Congress to oppose any legislative attempts to reintroduce the restrictions on asylum.

Congresswoman Kelly (D-IL-02) Introduces Health Equity and Accountability Act 

On April 26, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-02) reintroduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2022 (HEAA). The bill seeks to reduce health disparities by systemically addressing the intersection of health inequities with race and ethnicity, as well as immigration status, age, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, language, and socio-economic status. The Act aims to strengthen data collection and analysis, define and ensure implementation of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care, bolster health workforce diversity, and improve access to high-quality health care.

Administration Activities 

CDC Monitors Reports of Children with Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Etiology  

CDC is monitoring multiple reports of acute hepatitis of unknown etiology in the US and abroad. On April 21, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to notify clinicians and public health authorities about the cluster of hepatitis and concomitant adenovirus infections. Additionally, CDC released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on April 29 detailing the most up-to-date epidemiological information available on the cluster of infections. CDC recommends that clinicians consider adenovirus testing in pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown etiology and encourage providers to report possible cases occurring on or after October 1, 2021.

HRSA Extends Administrative Relief Initiatives for RWHAP Programs 

On April 26, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issued a Dear Colleague Letter to Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs announcing that it would extend certain flexibilities or administrative relief from statutory penalties and administrative requirements that were authorized during the COVID-19 pandemic through FY2022. In 2021, HRSA released a program letter outlining six RWHAP statutory penalties and administrative requirements that would be waived for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in order to provide greater flexibility and administrative relief from penalties that would be otherwise applicable. After a review of the utilization of the prior waivers and the continued impact of COVID-19 on RWHAP recipients, three of the six waivers will be extended into FY2022. 

NASTAD Joins Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition and Calls on Biden Administration to Reform Public Charge Regulations 

On April 25, NASTAD joined the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition and urged the Biden Administration to quickly finalize proposed changes to the public charge regulation that would restore and improve upon the public charge policy in place prior to the Trump Administration’s changes to the rule. The Trump-era public charge policy, which took effect just weeks before COVID-19 hit the United States, deterred millions of immigrant families from seeking health care and aid during the pandemic, undermining pandemic response and widening racial disparities in its economic and health impact. The comment, signed by 1,070 nonprofit organizations, calls on the Biden Administration to ensure that the use of safety-net programs, like core health, nutrition, and housing assistance programs, should in no way be linked to the public charge provision required by the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Biden Administration Finalizes Notice of Benefits and Payment Parameters Rule 

On April 28, the Biden Administration announced that it finalized the Notice of Benefits and Payment Parameters regulation for 2023. For the coming year, the Administration implemented new measures that will allow consumers to more easily find the right form of quality, affordable health care coverage on that best meets their needs. Those measures include implementing new network adequacy requirements, increasing the value of coverage for consumers and removing barriers to coverage, expanding access to Essential Community Providers, and streamlining The final regulation builds on the Biden Administration’s efforts to build upon the Affordable Care Act by lowering premiums and strengthening marketplace coverage.


NASTAD RFP: Data Management Consultant, RWHAP Part B ADAP Monitoring Project 

The Data Management Consultant will work with the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Monitoring Project team to support the production of the 2023 National RWHAP Part B ADAP Monitoring Project Report. This consultant will work on an hourly basis throughout the contract period (June 15, 2022 – January 31, 2023). Submissions are due by close of business, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.  

NASTAD RFP: Employee Handbook Consultant

NASTAD seeks a Human Resources consultant with extensive not-for-profit experience to develop and create an updated Employee Handbook that reflects NASTAD’s values and culture and represents a progressive non-profit association in the 21st century. We anticipate that the consultancy will begin in late May, with the Employee Handbook research and drafting to be completed by August 31, 2022. The consultant will also be available for continued editing and updating and meetings through December 2022. Submissions are due by 11:59 pm on May 9, 2022.

CDC HBV Vaccine Resources for Clinicians 

On April 20, 2022, CDC’s Immunization Services program released a pre-recorded “Current Issues in Immunization” webinar. This webinar includes updates on immunization recommendations for hepatitis B, pneumococcal, and zoster vaccines. The pre-recorded session is 1-hour long and includes question-and-answer sessions related to the presentation content. Mark Weng, MD, from CDC’s Viral Hepatitis program participated in this presentation. Dr. Weng presented the updated adult hepatitis B vaccination recommendations. Additionally, updated its popular, “Ask the Experts: Hepatitis B” webpage, which includes an extensive list of clinical questions and answers incorporating the updated hepatitis B vaccination recommendation.

HepNET Town Hall 

Date: May 12 | 2:00 PM ET 

Register: Click here to register 

NASTAD in partnership with National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are implementing and facilitating the Hepatitis Network for Education and Testing (HepNET). In collaboration, we will work with state and local health departments (LHDs), community-based organizations (CBOs), clinical providers, people with lived experience, syringe services programs (SSPs) and harm reduction programs, and other key partners to identify and address the unmet needs of people who inject drugs (PWID) and improve their access to viral hepatitis education, prevention, testing, linkage to care, and treatment. Join the town hall to learn more about HepNET.

IHS NOFO: Ending the HIV/HCV Epidemics in Indian Country: A Program for American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Urban Indian Communities

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is accepting applications for a cooperative agreement for the Ending the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Epidemics in Indian Country (ETHIC) program. The purpose of this program is to support communities in reducing new human HIV infections and relevant co-morbidities, specifically STI and HCV infections, improve HIV-, STI-, and HCV-related health outcomes, and reduce HIV-, STI-, and HCV-related health disparities among American Indian and American Native people. Applications are due June 17, 2022.

Job Postings 

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. 

HOPWA Program Manager – Wake County, NC 

The Division of Public Health is accepting applications for a Program Coordinator IV.  The position is located in the Communicable Disease Branch-AIDS Care Program.  This Program Coordinator is responsible for managing all requirements of the HOPWA grant to ensure full compliance with HUD HOPWA program guidance, rules, and regulations.  Applications close May 9.

Viral Hepatitis Diagnostics Working Group Coordinating Consultant – Treatment Action Group (TAG) 

The Viral Hepatitis Diagnostics Working Group Coordinating consultant will work with TAG’s Policy Team and Working Group members to coordinate, facilitate, and support the WG to advance agreed policy and funding priorities and objectives. This includes drafting written materials, meeting facilitation and co-facilitation, notetaking, informing and guiding advocacy strategies, contributing to building WG consensus, engaging stakeholders and supporting educational activities such as webinars. Applications close April 26.

STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program, Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health 

HIV/STD Director – Austin, TX

The HIV/STD Director works under the general direction of the Director of the TB/HIV/STD Section (THSS) of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Performs advanced (senior-level) managerial work leading the day-to-day operations of the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Unit. These programs include statewide programs for HIV clinical and social services; the provision of medications for the treatment of HIV and other STDs; and HIV/STD prevention. Applications close May 9.

Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, Communicable Disease Unit 

  • Communicable Disease Unit Surveillance Program Manager – Cheyenne, Wyoming
    • The Wyoming Department of Health, Public Health Division, Communicable Disease Unit is seeking a Communicable Disease Surveillance Program Manager for Cheyenne. This position will serve as the Communicable Disease (CD) Surveillance Program Manager and senior epidemiologist for the Communicable Disease Unit. This position oversees public health surveillance of four disease areas (HIV, STD, TB, and Viral Hepatitis).  This position will monitor disease trends and utilize surveillance data to coordinate public health activities.   
  • 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 

Biden’s Drug Strategy Mixes Harm Reduction With Harm Production 

“President Biden presented his 2022 National Drug Control Strategy to Congress on April 21. Advocates applauded its unprecedented inclusion of harm reduction measures to prevent overdose and HIV and hepatitis C among people who use drugs, besides substance use disorder treatment. But Biden simultaneously remains heavily focused on “controlling” drugs by relying on law enforcement to prevent trafficking—a focus that undermines any federal harm reduction approach.” 

Still Few Answers as Kids Hepatitis Outbreak Spreads 

“Researchers and health officials are racing to determine the cause of an unexplained outbreak of pediatric hepatitis as more cases are reported around the world every day. Unfortunately, the mysterious cluster of cases is also spawning an outbreak of misinformation.” 

Biden, joined by Obama, proposes tax credit fix to Affordable Care Act 

“President Joe Biden, alongside former President Barack Obama, announced efforts Tuesday to expand access to health care by proposing changes to the Affordable Care Act that would make more people eligible for premium tax credits to buy ACA marketplace plans…The proposed rule announced Tuesday, which will require a lengthy rule-making process before it can take effect, would provide tax credits to extend the 10 percent cap to other family members, thereby eliminating the “family glitch,” according to a White House fact sheet.”