Newsletter: Policy

Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

Hill Happenings

FY2024 Appropriations 

Lawmakers in both chambers are scrambling to pass a short-term funding patch in order to avoid a government shutdown at the start of fiscal year 2024 (FY2024) on October 1. House Republicans touted a continuing resolution (CR) that would implement 8% cuts on all non-defense funding and includes conservative border security priorities, but the package failed to secure enough votes to move forward. Additionally, Senate Democrats faced a setback when attempting to advance a three-bill spending minibus, signaling no clear path to avoid a government shutdown in either chamber.

As the funding deadline nears, many lawmakers are questioning whether the House Republican caucus can reach an agreement to fund the government. As a result, House appropriators are increasingly working across party lines to strike a bipartisan, midnight deal that could pass both chambers and avert a government shutdown.

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 Safeguard the Prevention and Public Health Fund as it Moves to Boost Funding for Community Health Centers 

On September 20, NASTAD joined a coalition of 112 organizations and called on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) to reject language included in the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act that would redirect funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Prevention Fund) in order to boost resources for community health centers. If passed as is, this bill would effectively cut $980 million from the Prevention Fund, supplanting one of the few mandatory funds that are dedicated to preventive services, like immunization programs, and supporting public health systems like state and local health departments. The coalition urges the Senate HELP committee to safeguard the Prevention Fund and avoid inadvertently harming public health programming as it aims to boost resources for community health centers. The Senate HELP Committee advanced the bill out of committee on September 21. 

Hepatitis Caucus Cochairs Introduce Resolution to Recognize National African Immigrant and Refugee HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Awareness (NAIRHHA) Day  

On September 18, the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus co-chairs, Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) jointly introduced a resolution to designate September 9th as National African Immigrant and Refugee HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Awareness (NAIRHHA) Day. African immigrants in the United States bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infection and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection compared to the general US population. The resolution emphasizes the need for increased awareness among healthcare providers and African immigrant and refugee communities about the risks, consequences, and prevention measures related to viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

Administration Activities

CMS Data Show Half a Million People Lost Medicaid Coverage due to State System Errors 

On September 21, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced(CMS) announced that nearly 500,000 people, including many children and families, were wrongfully disenrolled from Medicaid coverage as states resume eligibility redetermination for the first time since the COVID-19 public health emergency. On August 30, CMS issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors urging them to rectify system errors that were disenrolling people from the Medicaid program due to incorrectly reviewing eligibility on a family level instead of at the individual level. The September announcement also details steps that CMS will take to correct the problem, including pausing all disenrollments in the affected states and working to restore coverage for those inappropriately disenrolled.

ONDCP Announces New Deputy Director Adam Cohen 

On September 8, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that Adam W. Cohen would assume the role of Deputy Director. Cohen brings an extensive professional background in prosecution and leading law enforcement task forces at the Department of Justice (DOJ). He formerly served as a Senior Policy Advisor at ONDCP in 2016, where he was the senior DOJ representative on a team charged with developing interagency national synchronization strategies to combat the synthetic opioid crisis.


NASTAD Resource: Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in Harm Reduction Settings 

Webinar: October 5, 2023, from 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET/1:00 – 2:00 PM PT 

NASTAD Drug User Health Team is pleased to announce the release of a new resource, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in Harm Reduction Settings. This toolkit provides an overview of best practices for forming mutually beneficial community-academic research partnerships within harm reduction settings. This resource was developed through the CDC-funded National Harm Reduction Technical Assistance Center in collaboration with the NASTAD Drug User Health team and consultants. The toolkit is intended to assist harm reduction workers who are considering participating in research activities to ensure participants and programs are the primary beneficiaries of research efforts. The CBPR resource can be used by community-based organizations, researchers, health departments, and other harm reduction service providers who work with people who use drugs or support Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Register here for an introductory webinar that will provide an overview of the CBPR resource creation and content. The webinar is scheduled for October 5, 2023, from 4:00 – 5:00 PM ET/1:00 – 2:00 PM PT. 

Yale/Mission Analytics Group: Eliminating Hepatitis C Virus among People with HIV: Data to Care Approaches 

Date: Sep 26, 2023 02:00 PM ET 

This RWHAP Part F SPNS initiative aimed to link individuals co-infected with HIV and HCV to care by leveraging public health surveillance and clinical data systems. The Yale University School of Medicine served as a Technical Assistance Provider for participating jurisdictions: Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Orange County Florida, and the Southern Nevada Health District. This webinar, presented by Yale and Mission Analytics Group, the project evaluator, will focus on jurisdiction and clinic approaches and lessons learned in implementation to help you get started on your own mico-elimination activities. Additional information can be found here

Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA: Mitigating Risks from Human Xylazine Exposure 

Date: October 4 from 9.15 – 4.45 pm ET 

The meeting will explore real-world experiences and emerging trends for human xylazine exposure and examine potential strategies for testing, drug development, and clinical research.

CDC/HRSA: Virtual Community Listening Session – HHS Regions 8 & 10 

Date: Thursday, October 5 from 4 – 5.30 PM ET 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV Prevention (DHP) and Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) are hosting joint regional virtual community listening sessions continuing with HHS Regions 8 and 10 on Thursday, October 5, from 4-5:30 PM ET. The community listening sessions will provide a venue for discussion and collaboration focused on barriers to and opportunities for improving HIV diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and outbreak response. 

TAG Webinar: HIV-HCV co-infection and best practices for HCV elimination in high-burden populations 

Date: October 10th, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET 

Following the White House’s recent proposal for a National Hepatitis C Elimination Plan as part of its Fiscal Year 2024 budget request to Congress, and the fact that key populations for HIV are also at high risk of HCV, Treatment Action Group is organizing a webinar that will highlight best practices and challenges for HCV elimination with a specific focus on high-burden populations. The webinar will equip policymakers, clinicians, health advocates, civil society and other stakeholders with tools to better address barriers to eliminating HCV among key populations and encourage participants to apply new insights into HCV/HIV comorbidity to their work.

Gilead RFP: Community REseArch To End the HIV Epidemic-U.S. (CREATE U.S. RFP) 

Letter of Intent Due: October 3, 2023 at 11:59 PDT 

Community-based research plays a critical role in helping improve services and quality of care for populations most impacted by HIV. To advance this research, Gilead launched the CREATE U.S. RFP, a new program offering funding to community groups for projects helping to improve long-term care and engagement for people with HIV. We encourage you to share this opportunity with your networks or any eligible parties. 

NACCHO NOFO: Evaluating the Distribution of Smoking Supplies as a Harm Reduction Strategy 

Deadline: Friday, October 13th at 11:59 PM PT 

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NACCHO is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity to support the evaluation of smoking supplies distribution as a harm reduction strategy. Through this funding opportunity, NACCHO will provide up to $38,000 to approximately four syringe services programs (SSPs) to evaluate the distribution of smoking supplies as a harm reduction strategy. 

2023 RWHAP Clinical Conference 

Dates: December 3-5, 2023 

Location: Portland, Oregon 

Registration for the 2023 RWHAP Clinical Conference is now open. This conference provides state-of-the-art research, care, and treatment updates for experienced clinical decision-makers and those integral to medical care provision housed under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) funded sites. Details on covered topics, venue descriptions, information about continuing education credits, and updates on registration and travel will be available on the IAS-USA website and the AETC National Coordinating Resource Center (NCRC) website

Job Postings

Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Coordinator – Oahu, HI 

The primary purposes of this position are to plan, develop, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the statewide surveillance system for adult viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis B and C, to inform efforts to control and prevent the spread of adult viral hepatitis and related sequelae, particularly drug overdose and liver cancer. This position is responsible for the systematic analysis and interpretation of population-based and program-specific health and related data in order to assess the distribution and determinants of the health status and needs of populations at risk for or living with viral hepatitis, for the purpose of implementing effective interventions and promoting policy development. 

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.  

Prevention Coordinator, Boulder County AIDS Project – Boulder, Colorado 

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, 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. 

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. 

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

Hep C’s Number Comes Up: Can Biden’s 5-Year Plan Eliminate the Longtime Scourge? 

“With several highly effective, lower-cost treatments now on the market, one might expect that nearly everyone who knows they have hepatitis C would get cured. But a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in June found that is far from the case. A proposal by the Biden administration to eliminate the disease in five years aims to change that.” 

Experts Identify Safeguards to Help Health Agencies Protect Against Potential Political Interference 

“Recent reports have identified shortcomings in the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including allegations of political interference. Experts participating in a roundtable convened by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have identified safeguards that could help HHS agencies protect against potential political interference. The safeguards cover documenting decisions, greater transparency, and establishing scientific integrity processes.” 

Oregon to Weigh Recriminalizing Drug Possession, Adding New Penalties 

“A group in Oregon wants to criminalize drug possession again, having unveiled two versions of a would-be ballot initiative that would undo key provisions of Measure 110, the 2020 voter-approved measure that decriminalized simple possession of all drugs. 

The proposal—which backers say they’ll pursue both through the state legislature and at the ballot box, if necessary—would make it a misdemeanor to possess certain illicit drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. It would also create a new misdemeanor for using unlawful drugs in public.”