Executive Committee Meeting Minutes March 17, 2022



Thursday, March 17, 2022, 3:05-4:20pm

By Zoom Videoconference

Members Present: Graham Harriman (Governmental Co-chair), Dorella Walters (Community Co-chair), Paul Carr (Finance Officer), Saqib Altaf, Joan Edwards, Billy Fields, Marya Gilborn, Charmaine Graham, Matthew Lesieur, David Martin, Jeff Natt, Julian Palmer, Guadalupe Dominguez Plummer, Donald Powell, Leo Ruiz, Claire Simon, Marcy Thompson

Members Absent: Ronnie Fortunato, Finn Schubert

Staff Present: NYC DOHMH: Melanie Lawrence, Scott Spiegler, Scarlet Macias, José Colón-Berdecía, Kimbirly Mack, Renee James, Giovanna Navoa; Public Health Solutions: Barbara Silver, Gemma Barclay, Arya Shahi, Rosemarie Santos; HRSA/HAB: Axel Reyes; Joan Corbisiero (Parliamentarian)

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

Ms. Walters and Mr. Harriman opened the meeting followed by introductions and a moment of silence.  The minutes from the February 17, 2022 meeting were approved with no changes.  Mr. Harriman reported that former Council staff Nina Rothschild should soon be discharged from the hospital and has received the flowers sent on behalf of the Council. 

Agenda Item #2: New HRSA Project Officer

Mr. Harriman introduced Axel Reyes, the NY EMA’s new HRSA Project Officer.  Mr. Reyes has over 25 years of professional and volunteer experience in HIV prevention and care services domestically and internationally.  Mr. Reyes talked about starting in HIV work as a volunteer in the early 1990s after seeing the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington, DC and going on to work in the Peace Corps, Puerto Rico and in community-based and governmental HIV organizations.  He expressed his excitement to partner with the NY EMA as a leader in developing innovative models of HIV care.

Agenda Item #3: GY 2022 Spending Scenario Plan

Ms. Gilborn introduced the GY 2022 Spending Scenario Plan approved by the Priority Setting & Resource Allocation Committee.  Mr. Klotz reviewed the spreadsheet.  For 2022, as in previous years, PSRA has approved a methodology for implementing an expected reduction to the grant award so that the Recipient can implement it immediately upon receipt of the full award.  The Spending Scenario Plan posits a reduction of up to 3.6% in the total award (reductions in recent years have ranged from 1.5-3.5%).  The EMA is likely to continue seeing a decrease in our formula award (based on the number of HIV cases in the EMA compared to the other 51 EMAs).  The cut will be offset somewhat by a modest increase in the national Part A appropriation in the budget just passed by Congress.  After 10% for administration, $3M for Quality Management, and the already approved Tri-County spending plan, that leaves $70.3M for NYC programs (a reduction of $3M).  The actual reduction is likely to be less, given that Congress added $10M nationally to the RWPA appropriation and the NY EMA receives about 10% of national RWPA funds. 

For GY 2022, there is $2.1M in savings in carrying costs in three service categories due to permanent contract takedowns or terminations.  Health+Hospitals (H+H) Correctional Health services (mostly funded through Medicaid and other sources) has seen a significant reduction in the number of clients due to recent criminal justice reforms and the reduction in RWPA funds would right-size the program.  In addition, H+H staff funded through other sources are continuing to serve those clients.  The $2.1M savings in carrying costs is somewhat offset by the need to fund a full year of PSS TINBNC (at $937K, which includes $50K for training) and a half year of the newly bid Oral Health Services (to start Sept. 1, 2022).  In a 3.6% reduction scenario, the remaining deficit ($1,552,233) can be taken from the ADAP allocation, which will be restored (and more) through reprogramming and 2021 carryover.

Ms. Gilborn, on behalf of PSRA, moved to approve the spending scenario as presented: In the case of a reduction in the grant award up to 3.6% (or $3,296,674), the deficit (after savings in carrying costs and new allocations) will be taken from the ADAP allocation.  In the event that the reduction in the award is less than $1,249,541 (the savings in carrying cost minus the new allocations), any surplus will be allocated to ADAP.  The motion was adopted 15Y-0N.

Agenda Item #4: Bylaws Amendment

Mr. Fields presented a draft amendment to Article VI of the Council’s bylaws to formalizes long-standing practices and eliminates uncertainty regarding how Council members serve on committees.  It clarifies that Council members must serve on at least one committee, that appointments to committees follow the same procedure as appointments for non-PC members, and that Council members only have voting rights on committees that they have been formally appointed to. 

In response to questions, it was clarified that Council members can be appointed to multiple committees and have always been allowed to attend any committee meetings and contribute to the discussion, but voting rights are limited to those formally appointed to the committee.

Mr. Fields, on behalf of the Rules & Membership Committee, moved to approve the bylaws amendment as presented.  A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote to amend the original motion by moving the phrase “including Council members” to earlier in the last sentence.  The amended motion was adopted unanimously by voice vote. 

Agenda Item #5: Assessment of the Administrative Mechanism Survey

Mr. Harriman reminded the Committee that to fulfill its responsibility to “assess the administrative mechanism” (review performance of the Recipient in spending RWPA funds), it has traditionally relied on a year-end report based on the Recipient’s quarterly spending reports.  Last year, given that the Council’s assessment contained a negative finding for the first time, the Committee reviewed and approved a survey tool to gather input from RWPA providers on their experience as contractors.  Administration of the survey was put off due to the exigencies of the pandemic.  Mr. Harriman presented the revised survey, which not contains a question about administration of carryover funds.

Ms. Silver noted that one major issue has been getting funds from DOHMH to PHS, which impacts PHS’ ability to pay contractors.  The two entities are working to improve systems.  Mr. Harriman responded that for the Council, the issue they are assessing is payment to contractors, and that the internal mechanism for that is not in their purview.  The Council reports to the Division of Disease Control, not the HIV Bureau.  The Division understands the factors that led to the findings in last year’s assessment.

Issues around data collection are separate, many of which are being addressed in the Data Committee.  PHS is also discussing data issues (especially required narrative reports outside of eShare) in the context of a new RFP.

A motion was made, seconded and approved unanimously by voice vote to accept the survey as presented.

Agenda Item #6: Council Chairs Report

Ms. Walters and Mr. Harriman reported that they have been working with Ms. Simon on a presentation for next week’s Council meeting on the new Statewide Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan.  The presentation will cover the existing plans (ETE, EHE) that will form the basis of the Integrated Plan and the process for creating the plan, getting input from the Council and other stakeholders, and voting on concurrence with the plan.  Ms. Simon added that she has been meeting with the Nassau-Suffolk Planning Council and other planning bodies, and that letters have gone out to providers across the State to solicit information on any local plans.

Mr. Harriman also reported that the Policy Committee will meet next week, and that the Needs Assessment Committee has extended the deadline for completing the new comprehensive needs assessment until next winter.

There being no further comment, the meeting was adjourned.