Executive Committee Meeting Minutes June 20, 2024


By Zoom

3:00 – 4:10pm

Members Present: David Klotz (Governmental Co-chair), Billy Fields (Finance Officer), Saqib Altaf, Raffi Babakhanian, Paul Carr, Joan Edwards, Ronnie Fortunato, Marya Gilborn, Charmaine Graham, Steve Hemraj, Matthew Lesieur, Freddy Molano, MD, Julian Palmer, Guadalupe Dominguez Plummer (ex-officio), Marcelo Maia Soares

Members Absent: Emma Kaywin, David Martin, Marcy Thompson

Staff Present: NYC DOHMH: Jeff Klein, Scott Spiegler, Johanna Acosta, Adrianna Eppinger-Meiering, Renee James, Patrick Chan, Jimmy Jaramillo; Public Health Solutions: Barbara Silver, Arya Shahi; HRSA: Axel Reyes

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Introductions/Minutes/Public Comment

Mr. Klotz and Mr. Martin opened the meeting followed by introductions and a moment of silence. The minutes from the May 16, 2024 meeting were approved with no changes.

Mr. Klotz introduced the Council’s new Community Planner, Jeff Klein, who started on June 3rd. Mr. Klein staffs the Consumers and Integration of Care Committees.

Agenda Item #2: HRSA Project Officer Update

Mr. Reyes reminded the Committee that registration is still open for virtual participation in the National Ryan White Conference. Also, as the three-year grant period is ending, a new Notice of Grant Opportunity (NOFO) for a full RWPA application will take place this year. Application guidance is expected to be released in July. Finally, Mr. Reyes congratulated the EMA for submitting its Federal Financial Report on time this year.

Mr. Babakhanian asked if HRSA allows RWPA funds to be used to support consumers’ internet access, which is vital for participation in the Council and is more difficult to obtain with the ending of a federal subsidy program. Mr. Reyes explained the difficulty of getting needed justification and documentation of pro-rated usage.

Agenda Item #3: GY 2023 into 2024 Carryover Plan

Mr. Carr and Ms. Plummer presentedthe carryover plan for the unexpended funds from the previous year (GY 2023) for use in the current year. Ms. Plummer explained that HRSA usually does not approve the plan until the fall, leaving a short time frame for providers to spend the funds. Any unspent carryover is deducted from the following year’s award as a penalty. All carryover must be used for program services benefiting PWH (i.e., no grant administration or quality management activities). As presented at the last Council meeting, there is $2,294,4212 available for carryover (about $600,000 less than the previous year).

Mr. Carr explained that, based on the Recipient’s analysis of need and the ability of programs to spend the money, the recommendation is to use the funds for Housing and Food & Nutrition Services (both NYC and Tri-County). The proposed breakdown is:

  • Short-term rental assistance (NYC) = $798,216
  • Short-term housing (NYC) = $816,264
  • Short-term rental assistance (Tri-Co) = $205,896
  • Food and Nutrition Services (NYC) = $401,115
  • Food and Nutrition Services (Tri-Co) = $72,930

Any funds that cannot be spent in those categories would be allocated to the ADAP Program. The PSRA Committee approved the plan unanimously last week.

Ms. Plummer noted that the Council will need to address the issue of rising costs for housing and food services when considering new baseline allocations in future years.

On behalf of the PSRA Committee, Mr. Carr moved to accept the GY 2023 into 2024 carryover plan as presented.  The motion was adopted 13Y-0N.

Agenda Item #4: GY 2023 Assessment of the Administrative Mechanism

Mr. Fields introduced the GY 2023 assessment of the administrative mechanism, explaining that the assessment is a legislative requirement that planning councils assess whether Ryan White Part A grant funds are being expended according to the Council’s priorities and allocations, and whether funds are being rapidly disbursed to the community. The assessment is for the 2023-24 grant year and contains findings related to four areas: 1) Executed Contracts/Renewals, 2) Procurement, 3) Subcontractor Payments, and 4) Spending.  The draft assessment is based on information presented to the EC and PC through quarterly spending reports and monthly Recipient reports, as well as fiscal information provided from the Recipient. Overall, the findings are positive, particularly in the areas of spending and procurement. Mr. Klotz reviewed the text of the draft assessment’s findings.

The Recipient and PHS have taken concrete steps to address the findings of the GY 2022 assessment of the administrative mechanism. Through TA sessions with HRSA, effectively addressed issues affecting timely contract executions and subcontractor payments. the Recipient provided results of the procurement process for Housing Services, including new contract lists to the Council in the Recipient Report. Public Health Solutions has made the results publicly available online and they have been incorporated into the Recipient’s revised RWPA Referral Directory. The Recipient has also kept the Council informed of the ongoing procurement process for Non-Medical Case Management and Behavioral Health services. Commitments are consistent with the Council’s approved spending plan.

The Recipient reported spending for the 2023-2024 Ryan White Part A grant year for the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and through a final closeout report on 5/16/2024 to the Executive Committee and on 5/23/2024 at the full Council meeting. The final expenditure report results showed that most program funds had been expended. Explanations for underspending in categories were provided, as well as a report on reprogramming amount by service category. Unspent program and administrative funds will be carried over into GY 2024 and used for program services. In GY 2023-24, spending improved over the previous year, when underspending was still greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While underspending was still higher than historical levels, the trend is in the right direction, with underspending about $600K less than the previous year.

Ms. Plummer noted the large effort by many people at DOHMH and PHS who worked to improve the administration of the grant.

Mr. Fields made a motion, which was seconded, to accept the GY 2023 assessment of the administrative mechanism as presented.  The motion was adopted 13Y-0N.

Agenda Item #5: Review of the June-July Planning Council Agendas

Mr. Klotz reviewed the work to be completed in the final two Planning Council meetings of the session. In addition to the two items from today’s meeting, in July there will be an election for Finance Officer, review and approval of the GY 2025 application spending request, approval of a revised Emergency Financial Assistance service directive, and recognition of retiring members.

Agenda Item #6: Other Business

Ms. Plummer expressed her concerns to Mr. Reyes about the continued reduction in the EMA’s grant award, considering that, which new infections are down, the number of PWH continues to grow and age and the need for services continues to grow. Mr. Reyes responded that he sympathizes with the EMA and will relay the concerns in HRSA. Ms. Silver echoed these concerns.

Mr. Carr expressed his concern about the onerous intake process for RWPA services, that there are many unnecessary and intrusive questions, and that this issue was addressed in the Council’s Data Workgroup report. Ms. Plummer explained that the Recipient is already working to reduce the burden on both clients and providers, rolling out a streamlined form with new programs (e.g., the Housing programs’ form is going from ten pages to four). There will be a report to the full Council in the fall. Mr. Carr added that consumers should be able to upload forms (e.g., proof of eligibility status) and be able to communicate electronically with programs. There being no further comment, the meeting was adjourned.