Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings

FY2025 Appropriations

Appropriators are working to advance fiscal year 2025 (FY2025) spending bills. On May 1, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Cole (R-OK-04) extended the deadline for member office programmatic requests to May 3. The health funding and language requests will be compiled to form the first draft of the House FY2025 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) funding bill. Cole signaled that he wants to work quickly to close out this year’s spending process, but FY2025 negotiations may be complicated by lingering partisan disagreements and the statutory spending caps put in place by the bipartisan debt limit compromise.

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 Fund Public Health Data Modernization at CDC

On April 30, NASTAD joined a coalition of organizations and called on Congress to provide strong funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Data Modernization initiative in the FY2025 spending bill. The data modernization initiative is a long-term commitment to building and maintaining sophisticated data systems and a robust workforce. Yearly funding for public health data modernization plays a critical role to ensure that public health entities at state, Tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) levels receive timely and high-quality data from the health care system in order to detect disease and respond to outbreaks.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund the CDC SET-NET Program

On April 29, NASTAD joined a coalition of organizations and called on Congress to provide strong funding for the CDC Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies (SET-NET) program. This funding would enable SET-NET to reach additional jurisdictions, track more threats, and lead the nationwide preparedness and response needed to protect pregnant individuals and infants in the United States from emerging and re-emerging public health threats.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund the CDC Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant

On April 29, NASTAD joined a coalition of organizations and called on Congress to provide strong funding for the CDC Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant. The Title V MCH Block Grant is the only federal program of its kind devoted solely to improving the health of all women and children. State health departments use the Title V MCH Block Grant to design and implement a wide range of statewide and community-level maternal and child health programs to fit the needs of their specific populations. According to data gathered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Title V MCH Block Grant funding provided access to health care and public health services for an estimated 61 million people in fiscal year 2022, including 99% of infants, 93% of all pregnant people, and 61% of children nationwide.

Administration Activities

HHS Accepting Nominations for CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently accepting nominations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment (CHAC) 2025 nomination cycle. CHAC consists of 18 experts in fields associated with public health; epidemiology; laboratory practice; immunology; infectious diseases; substance use disorder; behavioral science; health education; healthcare delivery; state health programs; clinical care; preventive health; medical education; health services and clinical research; health equity; and healthcare financing, who are selected by the Secretary of HHS. Nominations for membership on CHAC must be received no later than October 1, 2024. Please contact the NASTAD Policy & Legislative Affairs team if you would like to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues.

CDC Issues Health Alert Network Advisory for Meningococcal Disease

On March 28, CDC issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to alert healthcare providers to an increase in invasive meningococcal disease, mainly attributable to Neisseria meningitidis serogroup Y. Cases caused by this strain are disproportionately occurring in people ages 30–60 years (65%), Black or African American people (63%), and people with HIV (15%). CDC encourages health providers to 1) have a heightened suspicion for meningococcal disease, particularly among populations disproportionately affected by the current increase, 2) be aware that patients may present without symptoms typical of meningitis, and 3) ensure that all people recommended for meningococcal vaccination, including people with HIV, are up to date for meningococcal vaccines.

HHS Issues New Rule to Strengthen Nondiscrimination Protections and Advance Civil Rights in Health Care

On April 26, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a regulation that reverses Trump-era rules that weakened gender-identity protections for LGBTQ+ patients and people seeking abortions receiving care through federally funded health programs. The rule restores civil rights protections under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that were narrowed under the Trump Administration, including preventing insurers from changing benefits for plan enrollees with a positive HIV status. Additionally, the final rule clarifies that Medicare Part B payments to providers are considered federal financial assistance, requiring those providers to comply with federal nondiscrimination requirements. The final rule goes into effect on July 5, 2024.


HRSA NOFO: HRSA Funding Opportunity & Request for Comments: Health Center Support for People Leaving Incarceration

“The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced the availability of $51 million for HRSA-funded health centers to implement innovative approaches to support transitions in care for people leaving incarceration.”

National Immigration Law Center Report: Improving Access to Medicaid for People with Limited English Proficiency

“In this report, we review the requirements for language access in Medicaid, how current practices routinely fail people with LEP, and how state agencies and CMS can improve conditions. Given many are looking ahead as the unwinding wraps up and the many problems that were exposed during it, we hope this is a useful tool for advocacy.”

Urban Institute: State Variation in Medicaid and CHIP Unwinding for Children and Adults as of November 2023

“According to monthly enrollment reports, enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP declined by about 9 million people from April through November 2023. Many observers are concerned that states are moving too fast and that many enrollees could lose coverage for procedural reasons even though they remain eligible.”

MMWR: Preventable Premature Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Counties, United States, 2010–2022

“Narrowing rural-urban disparities in the percentage of preventable premature deaths from unintentional injury (including drug overdose) were driven by worsening rates of preventable mortality in more urban areas, with the percentage more than doubling in large central metropolitan areas over the study period. For drug overdoses, access to medications for opioid use disorder continues to be more limited in rural counties, as evidenced by low buprenorphine dispensing rates and reduced treatment capacity (28).”

HHS Webinars: Hepatitis Awareness Month

SAGE Webinar Series: Older Americans Act

“SAGE is hosting a three-part webinar series to answer questions on the Older Americans Act (OAA) and what programs they fund, who’s eligible, and even how our community is going to be treated when people walk in the door.”

  • May 9, 2024 at 3pm ET : Demystifying the Older Americans Act for LGBTQ+ People
  • May 16, 2024 at 3pm ET: Empowering Activists to Advance an Older Americans Act for ALL

Job Opportunities

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

  • Harm Reduction Pillar Epidemiologist - This position will lead epidemiology work related to Michigan’s rapid opioid response and harm reduction programming to address negative health outcomes impacting people use drugs. In addition, this position will utilize data analysis to identify trends in syringe service program utilization and morbidity and mortality outcomes and translate insights into actionable data-driven strategies for improving health outcomes. 
  • Drug User Health Epidemiologist - This position will be responsible for using data from multiple systems, to uncover trends and patterns in infections among people who use substances and use data to target interventions essential for reducing the burden of medical complications related to injection drug use.

Program Manager 1-B (STD/HIV/HCV Regional Operations Manager) – New Orleans, LA

This position is responsible for providing statewide leadership and management of the Regional Operations Unit in the STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program. They are responsible for oversight of Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) located in nine regions throughout the state who conduct STD/HIV Partner Services. Areas of concentration include supervising staff, assessing investigations and case management, reviewing offered partner services, managing repeat infections, developing collaborative partnerships, overseeing outbreak response and workload assignments, developing workforce, and assisting with grant and report writing. Apply by May 10.

Integrated Care Behavioral Health Clinician – Grand Junction, CO

The Behavioral Health Clinician is responsible for assessing and responding to requests for mental health or substance use/addictions counseling for people living with HIV/AIDS and as well as other underserved individuals. This position helps manage group-counseling services including oversight of volunteer facilitators, scheduling, group admissions, advertising and evaluation.

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

Florida Passes Bill Allowing Pharmacists to Provide PEP to Prevent HIV

“Florida pharmacists will soon be able to provide more HIV care to their clients, thanks to a bill signed by Republican governor Ron DeSantis. Specifically, pharmacists can screen for HIV and provide post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which refers to medication people take to prevent HIV transmission shortly after a high-risk exposure.

The law takes effect July 1, according to a news release from Rep. Gallop Franklin (D–Tallahassee), who sponsored the bill and is also a pharmacist.”

How Much of Trump’s Health Agenda Has Biden Undone?

“Biden or his health officials were quick to reverse many of the policies President Donald Trump implemented that did not require formal regulations… But other high-profile Trump policies remain in place, at least for now. For example, the Biden administration has not yet attempted to amend Trump policies allowing prescription drug imports from Canada, although Biden officials have yet to approve any of the state plans submitted under that policy.”

Local Harm Reduction Programs Under Siege

“Bangor is just one of numerous cities suppressing or pushing back on harm reduction efforts in the midst of an unprecedented overdose crisis…Bangor’s opposition comes as the city is dealing with an HIV outbreak, with five confirmed new cases in a six-month period among people who inject drugs, as of March 25, according to Maine CDC.

Liver Cancer Screening Benefits Patients With Cirrhosis, Study Suggests

“Screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in liver disease patients with cirrhosis may indeed lead to a survival benefit, a retrospective analysis of data from two large U.S. health systems suggested.”