Executive Committee Meeting Minutes October 19, 2023


By Zoom

3:00 – 4:40pm

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

Members Absent: Steve Hemraj, Marcy Thompson

Other Planning Council Member Present: John Goldenbridge

Staff Present: NYC DOHMH: Celia Quinn, MD, Sarah Braunstein, PhD, Graham Harriman, Doienne Saab, Scott Spiegler, Kimbirly Mack, Patrick Chan, Renee James

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

Mr. Klotz and Mr. Martin opened the meeting followed by introductions.  The minutes from the July 19, 2023 meeting were approved with no changes.

Dr. Braunstein expressed her commitment to working with the Planning Council in the new session and to build the relationship between the Council and DOHMH in the joint effort to improve health outcomes for PWH.

Ms. James announced that DOHMH is sponsoring a forum on Women’s Sexual Health on December 6th at Baruch College.  Information will be sent out soon.

Agenda Item #2: Planning Council-Recipient Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)

Dr. Molano and Mr. Martin introduced the revised MoA, which is a binding document that guides the working relationship between the Planning Council and the Recipient.  They explained that the Rules & Membership Committee spent almost a year working on revising the document, making numerous changes that will help forestall the kinds of issues that arose in the last Council session.  The Committee also reviewed numerous suggestions from the Recipient, working out what they believe is a sold compromise document that reflects the needs of both parties.  The revised MoA not only fulfills a HRSA requirement but can lay the groundwork for a more productive and collaborative working relationship between the Council and the Recipient.  The MoA provides clear definitions for our respective roles and responsibilities, outlines realistic timelines for products that each party must provide to the other, and provides clear guidelines for how both parties communicate.  The hope is that the revised MoA will be a living document that we can refer to when potential disputes arise, and that will help us work more effectively together in order to make the Ryan White Part A program work optimally for the clients that we serve and fulfill our shared mission and values.

Mr. Klotz and Ms. Plummer presented the details of the MoA.  The purpose of the MoA was described, defining mutual goals and vision.  The MoA is a tool to define roles and responsibilities and avert conflict.  The Planning Council and Recipient roles in a wide range of activities were described, including: setting priorities, needs assessment, assessing the administrative mechanism, comprehensive planning, Council operations, grant administration, reporting requirements, quality management and program evaluation.

The MoA sets out guidelines for communications and information sharing, setting out defined procedures and timelines for reports, and information and data requests.  The timeline and procedures have already begun to be implemented, for example through formal data request forms that the Council has submitted for the information that the Council and its committees will need over the course of the upcoming year.  The MoA also defines who to address disputes that will inevitably arise, given the inherent tension in the way that the Ryan White legislation structures the program.  The process for settling disputes will begin with face-to-face internal meetings within five days, with defined steps to take if the issues are not resolved. 

A summary of key revisions in the revised document were explained, including: 1) technical changes in response to HRSA and legislative terms, as well as new DOHMH reporting lines); 2) allowing Council staff to review draft RFPs to ensure that they accurately reflect the Council’s service category directives; 3) formalized data request process; 4) new, rational process and timeline for shared reports and such as quarterly expenditure reports, as well as data requests; 5) formalization of long-standing practices, such as monthly Recipient reports to the Council and Council participation on the CHAIN Technical Review Team.

The MoA spells out a timeline for review and revising the document by both parties.  The timeline of the development of this version was described (after final approval by the Council, the MoA will be signed by both parties, submitted to HRSA and posted on the Council website). 

Highlights of the ensuing discussion follows:

  • The MoA makes clear that the Council is responsible for developing an annual reprogramming plan but does not spell out the parameters of a plan.  That is worked out in the PSRA Committee for approval by the EC and full Council.
  • City procurement rules do not allow members of the public, even those with no conflicts of interest, to see drafts of an RFP before it is released to the public.  In addition to Council staff review of a draft RFP, the Recipient does receive consumer input during the RFP development process.  They will be holding a listening session for consumers of the current behavioral health programs (Mental Health, Substance Use, Supportive Counseling, Health Education) as part of the process of developing the new BH directive.
  • The HRSA project officer sets their own parameters for how stakeholders in each EMA communicate with them. 
  • The Early Identification of Individuals with HIV (EIIHA) activities go far beyond Ryan White programs and include prevention, testing/linkage to care, social marketing, ETE/EHE and other programs run out of BHHS.  A presentation on those activities can be made to the Council.

Dr. Quinn thanked everyone for their hard work on this important document and expressed her hope that it will help lay the foundation for a more solid working relationship. 

Mr. Molano moved, on behalf of the Rules & Membership Committee, that the Executive Committee approve the Planning Council-Recipient Memorandum of Agreement as presented.  The motion was adopted 14Y-0N.

Agenda Item #3: Co-chairs Report

Mr. Klotz reminded that Committee that the Retreat is scheduled for Wed., November 15th, 9:30-4:30 at CUNY Law School in Long Island City.  The Retreat will be facilitated by experienced consultant Marta Siberio and will bring together the Executive Committee and the staffs of the Planning Council and Recipient to set shared goals and objectives, and to build upon the MoA to continue building a collaborative relationship that will strengthen the RWPA program.  The Retreat will include interactive small-group activities to bring the MoA to life using a real-world case study. 

Ms. Simon reminded everyone that anyone who wishes to participate in the HRSA/CDC community listening session must submit their name by tomorrow.

Mr. Klotz and the Committee members thanked Mr. Harriman for his years of dedicated service to the RWPA program and to PWH in the New York EMA.

There being no further comment, the meeting was adjourned.