The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, along with the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, hosted a panel, “Sustaining the Community-Based Response to HIV,” Oct. 20 at Penn. About 150 attended.
Featuring Jeffrey Crowley, the director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, along with Joanne Grossi, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regional director, this was the third HIV/AIDS strategy implementation dialogue in a series of meetings designed to encourage action and collaboration at the state and local levels regarding critical HIV/AIDS issues. One major issue is coming changes in funding and the impact that the Affordable Care Act will have on funding for HIV patient care.
Toorjo “TJ” Ghose, a School of Social Policy & Practice expert in HIV-related interventions, was the panel moderator. He has also been asked to produce a white paper about the new policy for the White House. Ghose has worked with communities of sex workers and transgendered people in India, New York and Philadelphia to study the effectiveness of interventions in reducing HIV risk.
Under the new Affordable Care Act, Ghose said, HIV patient care will be integrated into government health-care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
“Reshaping Ryan White Care funding, which has been the major source of HIV funding to date in the U.S., and transitioning to the Affordable Care Act has multiple implications,” Ghose says. “The most important is that HIV community care centers need to prepare for this huge paradigm shift.”
The panel also included representatives from the Centers for Disease Control, state and city departments of public health and agencies that are becoming care providers under the new guidelines. This stems from the Obama administration’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, released in July 2010. This strategy provides a roadmap to reduce the number of new HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities.
“The success of the strategy depends on the actions not only taken by the federal government, but also at state and local levels,” says Jeffrey Crowley of the AIDS policy office. “We are seeking to facilitate a dialogue with our partners across the country to learn from successes and to discuss potential solutions as states and communities implement the strategy.”
The first dialogue, held in Birmingham, Ala., focused on incorporating prevention and care research into HIV programs. The second meeting, held in Seattle, focused on ways to ensure that a sufficient, qualified workforce is available to provide optimal care for people living with HIV and to prevent infection among HIV-negative people. Other implementation dialogues will be held in Baton Rouge, La., and Des Moines.