Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations

On September 29, Congress issued a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily extend Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) funding levels through December 16. Appropriators were forced to issue the CR due to partisan disagreements on topline spending levels for FY2023, and now have a few more weeks to land on a bipartisan spending agreement and pass a full-scale appropriations package or issue another CR.

House and Senate Democrats advanced their set of appropriations bills earlier in July, which proposed funding increases to key health programs, but Democrats will need to secure Republican support to advance the spending package. Advocates are calling on Congress to avoid issuing a repeat CR, which strains health programs, and pass a bona fide, full-year FY2023 appropriations bill. Congress is not expected to resume spending talks until the results of the November mid-term elections are established, which may provide Republicans more leverage during appropriations negotiations if they regain a majority in either or both chambers.

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

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund MPV Response in Appalachia

On October 24, NASTAD signed onto a coalition letter drafted by the Community Education Group in support of MPV funding for rural communities. The coalition calls for $4.5 billion in funding for the national MPV response, including dedicated funding for rural communities and expanded vaccine production and distribution. The advocates highlight the important need to allocate health resources in rural Appalachia, a broad region that spans across 423 counties and 13 states, where many people live in medically underserved communities.

NASTAD Calls on Congress to Fund Global Health Programs

On October 24, NASTAD signed onto a Global Health Council letter calling on appropriators to support increased investments in global health programs. The coalition highlights the life-saving and impactful work of the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the urgent need for additional funding as countries continue to manage existing and emerging pandemics. 


Administration Activities

NASTAD and HepVu Release First-Ever Assessment of Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Practices Across Jurisdictions

On October 25, HepVu and NASTAD released the first-ever assessment of viral hepatitis surveillance practices across U.S. jurisdictions. The inaugural report shows that, while public health professionals are doing commendable surveillance work with currently available resources, there is a need for additional funding and resources. Notably, in 2021, one-third of U.S. jurisdictions did not have a full-time employee dedicated to viral hepatitis surveillance, even though staff and dedicated time are needed to perform basic surveillance activities. Meanwhile, only half (55%) of jurisdictions were able to produce annual surveillance summaries in 2021, which are important for informing programmatic planning and resource allocation. On November 2, 2022 at 4PM ET, HepVu and NASTAD are hosting a free public webinar on the newly released 2021 Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Status Report.

CDC DVH Releases New Insurance Document on Viral Hepatitis Coverage Information

On October 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) released an FAQ document that summarizes insurance coverage and patient cost-sharing by plan type for viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services. The FAQ document also provides an introduction to the different insurance plan types covering viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services. CDC developed the resource to understand how new and updated viral hepatitis screening, testing, and vaccination recommendations will influence insurance coverage decisions.

NASTAD Urges CMS to Rescind Interim Final Rule that Undermines Medicaid Coverage During COVID-19 PHE

On October 25, NASTAD joined a coalition of 150 organizations and urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind the Trump-era Interim Final Rule (IFR) that undermined the continuous coverage protections for Medicaid enrollees during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) passed under Section 6008 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The advocates highlight the loss of health coverage for Medicaid enrollees and reduction in benefits as a result of the (IFR), and called on the Biden Administration to replace the harmful rulemaking with a final rule that implements FFCRA Section 6008 consistent with the plain meaning of the statute and CMS’s original interpretation.

Biden Administration Encourages Holistic Approaches to MPV

On October 27, the federal MPV response coordinators issued a Dear Colleague letter highlighting the Administration’s holistic approach to MPV. The health officials call for an aggressive and comprehensive approach to address MPV, HIV, STIs, homelessness, and mental health in order to address the comorbidity of HIV and MPV, and the inequities in health outcomes by race and other social determinants of health. The authors encourage providers to leverage funding and programmatic flexibilities in existing infrastructure to serve the communities most affected by the syndemic.


Resources

National Center for Transgender Equality: 2022 US Transgender Survey

“The 2022 US Trans Survey (USTS) provides much-needed information to help the public understand the lives and experiences of transgender people in the United States and the disparities that many transgender people face. The USTS fills in some of the large gaps in research about transgender people, and it provides critical tools for researchers, policymakers, and advocates seeking to better understand the needs of transgender people and to find ways to improve their lives. The USTS also provides a benchmark that will help us learn how those experiences are changing over time; so much of the results of the 2022 survey will be comparable to 2015.”

KFF Issue Brief: The Implications of the Most Recent Challenge to the ACA’s Preventive Care Requirement Could Affect Millions

“A new brief explains the implications of the most recent legal challenge contesting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that most private insurance plans cover specific preventive care items and services—such as contraceptive services and supplies, and cancer screenings—at no cost to patients.”

CDC MPV MMWR:


Job Postings

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. 

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, 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.


News Bulletin

Administration eyes national hepatitis C treatment plan

“The Biden administration is preparing a comprehensive initiative to fight hepatitis C that would streamline testing and treatment and secure an agreement with drugmakers to bring down the cost of treatment of the disease, which has spiked during the pandemic. Francis Collins, special project adviser to President Joe Biden and former longtime director of the National Institutes of Health, said Monday the administration hopes to secure some funding this year for the yet to be formally unveiled initiative.

He said he has briefed Biden on the plan, and the Office of Management and Budget is ‘enthusiastic about figuring out how to fit this into the budgetary requests.’”

ACA's preventative care requirement under attack

“Plaintiffs in an Affordable Care Act lawsuit are now asking a federal judge to toss all parts of the law requiring coverage of preventive health services. The filing raises the stakes in the closely watched case, Kelley v. Becerra: If U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor sides with the plaintiffs, millions of Americans could lose coverage for cancer screenings, behavioral counseling and other recommendations made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.”

‘This program’s really saved us’: As Canada offers safer opioids to curb overdoses, will U.S. follow?

“The Finks are participants in a program at the frontiers of the desperate attempts to reduce never-before-seen levels of overdose deaths. Here at the light-filled Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, clients like the Finks receive prescriptions for government-funded, pharmaceutical-grade opioids they can use to feel the euphoric hit provided by drugs or at least ward off withdrawal, instead of having to rely on street drugs. The program, called safer supply, is part of an expanding movement in Canada to counter the increasingly treacherous drug supply.“