How Health Departments Are Responding to Hepatitis B in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities

By Thaddeus Pham, Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, Hawaii Department of Health

Hepatitis Testing Day 2013In addition to observing Hepatitis Awareness Month and Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, this week we also recognize the second annual Hepatitis Testing Day. As I look at all these important events for the month, I am reminded about why I do the work that I do. I invest my time and energy and passion in combating viral hepatitis not only because I believe in public health, not only because I am an Asian American, but also because it affects people I know and love.  Continue reading

Increasing Funding to End the HIV and Viral Hepatitis Epidemics

By Oscar Mairena and Emily McCloskey, Managers of Policy & Legislative Affairs

­­­­­President's FY2014 BudgetAs we begin to see the effects of the sequester on public health programs nationwide, it becomes increasingly clear that we must increase funding for HIV and viral hepatitis programs in FY2014 and onward in order to truly end these epidemics and improve the nation’s health. In light of this need, NASTAD has released fact sheets with recommendations for FY2014 health department HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis program funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Continue reading

Sustaining HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Services: Leveraging Third-Party Reimbursement

By Liisa M. Randall, Consultant and Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

Medical Bills by http://www.flickr.com/photos/attercop311/With federal and state funding for HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis services increasingly constrained, it is essential that health departments explore alternative sources of support to ensure the sustainability of vital services. Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides new opportunities for health departments and implementing partners to leverage resources made available through third-party reimbursement. Please visit NASTAD’s health reform website for resources on what the ACA means for HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis programs and services, and how health departments are preparing for reform. Continue reading

Patient Navigator Program Funding Announcement: Ensuring ACA Outreach and Enrollment Resources Reach People Living with HIV and Hepatitis

By Amy Killelea, Senior Manager, Health Care Access, NASTAD

State Decisions For Creating Health Insurance ExchangesOn April 9th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for eligible entities to serve as Patient Navigators in federally facilitated and partnership exchanges/marketplaces (state-run exchanges/marketplaces will be administering their own Patient Navigator programs). To access the funding opportunity announcement, visit: http://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA #93.750. See the Kaiser Family Foundation map to the right to see which type of exchange/marketplace your state will have.

Continue reading

Responding to Viral Hepatitis through Health Reform

By Oscar Mairena, Manager of Viral Hepatitis and Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs, NASTAD

This weekend marks the third anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA improves access to care and preventive services through expansion of public and private insurance, reforms that eliminate discriminatory insurance practices and make insurance coverage more affordable, and significant investments in prevention, care coordination, and health workforce and infrastructure. In the case of viral hepatitis, the ACA provides an opportunity to not only improve access to essential care and treatment for people living with viral hepatitis, but to diagnose viral hepatitis earlier and prevent new infections. In light of the ACA’s anniversary, NASTAD released a primer today on viral hepatitis and the ACA, The Affordable Care Act and the Silent Epidemic: Increasing the Viral Hepatitis Response through Health Reform. The primer provides an overview of how health reform impacts viral hepatitis prevention, screening, linkage and retention to care, and treatment.

Continue reading