Monday, June 6, 2016

Big Picture - April & May

This post is part of a monthly series that summarizes what's been going on in the Ryan White Planning Council, HIV Prevention Planning Group, and their subcommittees. To view meeting materials and presentations, please visit or check out our SlideShare account.

Spring has been busy here at the Office of HIV Planning! We moved to our new office on the 3rd floor of the building, in Suite 320. With all the difficulty of moving, we missed April’s Big Picture post, so we’ll cover both April and May here.

Finance Committee (May 12th):
The Philadelphia EMA received a $162,000 increase in their Ryan White Part A funding this year. The Finance Committee looked over and approved budgets for Philadelphia, the PA suburban counties, and NJ. Because of HRSA Policy Clarification 16-02, the EMA’s emergency medication program cannot be funded the same way anymore.  Money to support the program was moved from the Local Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (LPAP) to Direct Emergency Financial Assistance (DEFA). Representatives from the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) also requested that the Planning Council move $84,000 from LPAP to referral for healthcare and supportive services.

Ryan White Part A grant allocations meetings for the fiscal year 2017 will be held in June. The Pennsylvania allocations meeting will be June 14th, Philadelphia will be on June 16th, and NJ on June 21st. The meetings will run from 1-4pm.

Needs Assessment Committee (April 11th):
The results of the Needs Assessment Committee’s transportation survey are in. Case managers who responded to the survey talked about common issues with getting clients to and from medical appointments. Logisticare and SEPTA tokens were mentioned in a lot of the responses. The committee plans to look into issues with Logisticare and will possibly write a transportation resource list for case managers.

New Member Orientation/Nominations Committee (April 14th & May 19th):
The Planning Council welcomed 4 new members in April. They were invited to attend an orientation, where they learned about their responsibilities as Planning Council members. Debbie also gave an overview of the Ryan White Part A planning process.

In May, the Nominations Committee looked over Planning Council attendance. They’ll follow up with members who have attendance issues. They also reviewed the attendance policy. Members who have 3 unexcused absences or miss 5 meetings in a calendar year may be removed from the Planning Council. Anyone with a circumstance that keeps them from coming to meetings (for instance, an illness) should contact the office. Members should also try to arrive to meetings on time.

Ryan White Planning Council (April 14th & May 19th):
April: Evelyn Torres and Sebastian Branca from AACO gave a presentation on AACO’s Client Services Unit (CSU) at a joint meeting with the HIV Prevention Planning Group. The CSU helps to get people with HIV into case management and other services. AACO’s Health Information Helpline (1-800-985-2437) also provides information to callers from 8am-6pm Monday through Friday. Sebastian talked about the ways AACO follows up with HIV service organizations to see well they’re doing.  AACO uses data to see which organizations need help to improve their performance, and then helps organizations make plans for how they’ll do better.

May: The Finance Committee presented the budget for this year’s Ryan White Part A grant. The Planning Council voted to approve the budget, along with the grantee’s request to move $84,000 from LPAP to referral for healthcare and supportive services.

Positive Committee (May 9th):
Antonio gave the Positive Committee a presentation on the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Philadelphia public high school students were asked about tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, body weight and activity, sex, and violence. You can see more information on Antonio’s slides here.

Nicole told the group about the OHP’s focus groups with high-risk heterosexuals. Participants in the focus groups talked about their experiences with healthcare in Philadelphia. You can read Nicole’s slides here. Also check out her full report along with her recent blog post, where she talks more about what she learned from the focus groups.

Comp Planning (April 21st & May 26th):
April: Nicole also gave her focus group presentation to the Comprehensive Planning Committee.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee looked over the Needs Assessment Committee’s transportation survey results. They agreed to brainstorm and work together with Needs Assessment on transportation issues.

The use of opioid medications and heroin is a huge problem in Philadelphia. Overdose deaths are on the rise. Hepatitis C rates among heroin users are also skyrocketing. The Comprehensive Planning Committee will continue to discuss the opioid epidemic at future meetings.

May: The Comprehensive Planning Committee has talked about a retention navigation program, transportation, housing, and health insurance premium cost-sharing over the last year. They asked AACO to look into a health insurance premium cost-sharing program for the Philadelphia EMA. The Positive Committee will address transportation at their next meeting. The Comprehensive Planning Committee will bring up the retention navigation model at this month’s Finance Committee and allocations meetings. The Planning Council will ultimately decide whether to fund the program.

HPG (April 27th):
Kathleen Brady, AACO’s medical director, gave her annual report on the HIV epidemic in Philadelphia. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the HIV Care Continuum were an important focus of her presentation. See Kathleen’s slides for more information.

We hope to see you all at June’s allocations meetings!

Want to get involved? To learn more, follow the links in this post, attend one of the meetings listed on our calendar, or email If you have questions, you can also call us at 215-574-6760.

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