Monday, April 1, 2013

The Big Picture - March 2013

This post is part of a monthly series (that's usually) published on the fourth Thursday of every month. It provides an overview of themes and topics from the general meetings and committee meetings of the Ryan White Planning Council and Prevention Planning Group each month. To view meeting materials and presentations, please visit

Ryan White Planning Council (RWPC)

Last month, the Planning Council (RWPC) did some contingency planning for what we'll do once we receive our full award from the federal government.  (Read what happened last month here.)  We don't know how much funding we have for the fiscal year that started on March 1, but we received some new information midway through the month.  We got this information after the RWPC already met, so the Finance Committee and RWPC held emergency meetings. 

In February, we already knew that we should expect a 5.1% cut to Ryan White funds due to the sequester, so the RWPC planned accordingly.  However, in March, HRSA told our area that we should expect an additional 5.2% cut, because our area's portion of HIV/AIDS cases had risen slower than cases in other areas.  All in all, the grantee (otherwise known as AACO, or the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office) suggested that the RWPC plan for an 11% cut.  This would be about a $2.1 million cut to funding for services.  The grantee also developed a suggestion that they believed would minimize the impact of the cuts on consumers.  This suggestion was reviewed at length by the Finance Committee and the larger RWPC, and ultimately approved by both.  The final plan ends funding for early intervention services and care outreach after the first quarter, and spreads the remaining cuts proportionally across the other services.

Earlier in the month, the RWPC received a treatment update from Dr. Chris Vinnard.  They also learned about Early Identification of Individuals with HIV/AIDS from consultant Matthew McClain.  The Comprehensive Planning Committee continued and honed its conversation on Ryan White service categories and their relationship to the continuum of care.  They also talked about reimbursement for Ryan White services and the need for a peer navigator program.  Meanwhile, the Needs Assessment Committee discussed how and where people enter into HIV care. The Positive Committee listened to a podcast on the Origin of HIV and received a policy update.  The Finance Committee (in their first meeting of the month) also got a policy update, before discussing the care continuum chart developed by the Comprehensive Planning Committee last month.  Last but not least, the Nominations Committee met to review applications for RWPC membership.  Seven out of eleven applications were approved, and the new members will take their seats on the Planning Council in April.

Prevention Planning Group (PPG)

The PPG met this month to receive a special presentation from AACO epidemiologist Dr. Kathleen Brady.  She gave an overview of the latest data on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Philadelphia area in order to help the PPG complete its work.  The PPG also continued its process of reinventing itself.  This month, consultant Matthew McClain presented an updated version of the group's draft bylaws based on the recommendations from the last meeting.  He also developed a draft version of a new membership application.  PPG members were asked to review the draft documents so they could provide suggestions and changes at the next meeting.

The Points of Integration Workgroup, a joint venture of the PPG and RWPC, met at the beginning of the month to develop their work plan for the rest of the year.  They continue to examine the process of linking newly diagnosed HIV cases into the care system.

This is an exciting time to get involved in community planning for the Philadelphia area. To learn more, follow the links in this post, attend one of the meetings listed on our calendar, or email to find out how to get involved.  If you have questions, you can also call us at 215-574-6760.

Briana Morgan is a health planner and website coordinator at the Office of HIV Planning. You can also find her on Google+.

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