Planning Council Meeting Minutes November 21, 2019


Meeting of the
Thursday, November 21, 2019
3:05-5:10 PM
LGBT Center, New York, NY

Members Present: J. C. Park (Governmental Co-chair), M. Lesieur (Community Co-chair), S. Hemraj (Finance Officer), A. Abdul-Haqq, F. Barrett, L. Best, A. Betancourt, R. Bruce, P. Canady, P. Carr, E. Casey, R. Chestnut, B. Cockrell, M. Diaz, M. Domingo, R. Fortunato, T. Frasca, C. Graham, B. Gross, G. Harriman, C. Kunzel, Ph.D., O. Lopez, A. Lugg, M. Mañacop, J. Natt, D. Powell, M. Rifkin, A. Roque (by phone), L. Ruiz, J. Schoepp, F. Schubert, M. Singh, A. Straus, M. Thompson, R. Walker, B. Zingman, MD (by phone)

Members Absent: M. Bacon, D. Beiling, J. Dudley, J. Edwards, B. Fenton, MD, J. LiGreci, M. Mackey, J. Maldonado, J. Reveil, C. Reyes, C. Simon, T. Troia, D. Walters

Staff Present: DOHMH: D. Klotz, M. Lawrence, J. Colón-Berdecía, A. Guzman, C. Rodriguez-Hart, K. Mack, T. Gardet. A. Thomas-Ferraioli, J. Bell, J. Lawrence; Public Health Solutions: B. Carroll (by phone), G. Kaloo; J. Corbisiero (Parliamentarian)

Guests Present: W. Wedderburn

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Moment of Silence/Introductions/Minutes

Mr. Park and Mr. Lesieur opened the meeting followed by introductions and a moment of silence.  The minutes of the October 31, 2019 meeting were approved with no corrections.

Agenda Item #2: Recipient (Grantee) Update  

Mr. Harriman reported that the 2020 National Ryan White Conference on HIV and Care and Treatment (the largest national conference for comprehensive HIV care and treatment providers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program recipients and stakeholders, sponsored and funded by HRSA) will take place August 11-14, 2020 in Washington, DC.  The Clinical Conference will precede the Ryan White Conference on August 9 – 11, 2020.

The Recipient received notice from HRSA that the New York EMA’s Core Medical Services waiver application has been approved for FY2020.  The spending plan, as developed by the Planning Council, allocated less than 75% of funds to Core Medical Service Categories.  The waiver is submitted concurrently with the grant application.  The NY EMA has been consistently approved since they first applied for the CMS waiver in 2013.

The sixth annual Part A Power of Quality Improvement (QI) Conference will be held on Monday, November 25, 2019 at the Kimmel Center at New York University.  The conference theme for this year is “Using Unexpected Results to Improve Performance”.  

On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, NYC DOHMH and NYS Department of Health released a Dear Colleague letter stating that initiating antiretroviral treatment (ART) on the day of an HIV diagnosis or first clinic visit is now the recommended standard of care for HIV treatment in New York.  This follows New York State HIV Clinical Guidelines and recommendations of the International Antiviral Society.  

Governor Cuomo announced on November 1st, NY State of Health (NYS Health Plan Marketplace) will begin its seventh annual open enrollment period for New Yorkers who want quality, low-cost health insurance coverage in 2020.  Open enrollment for Qualified Health Plans begins November 1, 2019 and will continue through January 31, 2020.

On November 18, 2019, BHIV convened it’s first-ever Microgrant Symposium at God’s Love We Deliver in SoHo in Manhattan.  The event served as an opportunity to share more about BHIV’s microgrant initiative, which utilizes a microfinancing model to support grassroots, community-based organizations to design and implement projects focused on building resilience, promoting sexual health as the essential ingredient in HIV prevention, and developing community leaders.  Dr. Blackstock, opened the symposium with an overview of HIV in New York City and BHIV’s strategic priorities in ending the epidemic.  Stephanie Hubbard, Senior Program Planner, Prevention, BHIV, and Maria Ma, Program Planner, Prevention, provided an orientation to BHIV’s microgrant initiative.  The six community-based organizations awarded microgrants – Churches United for Fair Housing, Inc., Citizen’s Emergency Response Network, Peer Training, Inc., Queens Pride House, Translatinx Network, and Westchester Barber Academy Foundation – took the stage to describe their respective projects. A networking lunch and Q & A session followed.Mr. Guzman invited the public to the End AIDS 2020 Coalition’s World AIDS Day event at the NY Academy of Medicine on December 2nd and the Red Ball on December 5th.

Agenda Item #3: PSRA Proposals

Reallocation of TCC Funds to Housing

Mr. Natt explained that the Transitional Care Coordination model was developed by the Council in 2011 to improve the care of PLWH who are homeless and/or unstably housed by facilitating access to care, housing services, and other social support services.  After a rigorous review by multiple committees, the Integration of Care Committee (IOC) determined that the service was duplicative and in competition with Short-Term Housing.  By adding funds to Housing, those programs can add the targeted outreach service that TCC used to conduct, as well as serve an additional 60-65 households with Short-term Housing and Rental Assistance.  Last July the PC voted that the TCC service model end, and asked PSRA to consider moving the TCC funding allocation, in whole, to the Housing Services category. 

Mr. Park encouraged Council members to ask questions and have a complete understanding of issues before voting on allocations and other items.  A summary of the discussion follows:

  • The reallocation will not necessitate a re-bid of the Housing category.  Enhancements can be done to current programs.  If IOC decides to revise the model in the future, then an RFP will be done.
  • The Council allocates funds to the Housing category, which includes three components: 1) Short-term Rental Assistance (SRA) (financial assistance, in the form of rent payments directly to landlords, which is used to secure or maintain stable housing); 2) Housing Placement Assistance (identifying and securing permanent or short-term housing for PLWHA); and 3) STH (provision of housing units – either congregate or scattered-site – to chronically homeless, homeless, or unstably housed PLWHA, including emergency and transitional housing assistance.  The Recipient determines the best mix of funding within the service category between the three components.  The re-allocated TCC funds will be used to enhance SRA, which are serving a smaller number of clients due to increasing rents and larger households necessitating larger apartments.  Additional funding will also be used for STH to increase the number of households served in NYC by approximately 60-65.
  • STH is limited by HRSA policy to 2 years, during which clients are supposed to be transitioned to permanent housing (e.g., HOPWA), but none are disenrolled if they have not yet found appropriate permanent housing.
  • Pamela Farquhar, DOHMH Director of HIV Housing, attended many meetings and offered much assistance during the process and will ensure that the funds are used efficiently to assist the largest number of clients.
  • Many of the programs already serve people with mental illness and substance use issues.
  • The funds are all program dollars, and contractors can use up to 11% for administrative purposes.

On behalf of PSRA, Mr. Natt moved that the Council reallocate $1,443,228 from TCC to the Housing Services Category.  The motion was adopted 30Y-0N.

FY 2019 into FY 2020 Estimated Unobligated Balance Request

Mr. Natt explained that HRSA allows up to 5% of formula funds to be left unspent at the end of the year (the actual FY 2018 carry-over into FY 2019 was $241,644, or less than 0.3%).  By December, the Council and EMA must submit an Estimated Unobligated Balance (EUB).  This is notification that the EMA may carry over as much as 5% of formula funds.  This notice allows the EMA to request to use the actual carry-over later when it becomes available.  The EUB Request must specify the possible use of the funds and unit cost and ADAP has always been used as a placeholder.  PSRA and the Council are not obligated to allocate the carry-over as specified in the EUB request.  The actual carry-over for FY 2019 (3/1/19-2/29/20) will be known after the final close-out is done in late spring 2020.  When the actual unspent amount is known, the PSRA and Council will approve a final carry-over plan for submission to HRSA for use of the funds in FY 2020 (3/1/20-2/28/21). 

On behalf of PSRA, Mr. Natt moved that the Council approve the Estimated Unobligated Balance Request as presented.  The motion was adopted 33Y-0N

Agenda Item #4: New Planning Council Website Preview

Mr. Park introduced Winton Wedderburn of Simian Web Development, who was contracted to update the Council’s website.  Mr. Wedderburn discussed his goals for the new website, including making it accessible to the visually impaired and to non-English speakers, making it more visually appealing and user-friendly, allowing for better use on mobile devices, and creating a cleaner, easier to navigate site.  The site is scheduled to go live in early December.  He demonstrated the new site’s features and took questions.  A summary of the discussion follows:

  • Overall the site is much more visually engaging and easier to navigate.
  • A community calendar will allow members of the public to post events.  Users will be able to see that alongside the Council meeting calendar.  A by-the-month calendar view would be helpful.
  • While a smartphone application would be helpful, it is not feasible, but people can save the icon of the website onto their phone’s screens. 
  • A private, password-protected social network will allow people to communicate by text with each other, but that communication will not be moderated.
  • Livestreaming meetings may pose a barrier to participation for people who do not want to be publicly identified, but Council meetings are already governed by NYC open meeting laws.  It should be announced at the beginning of meetings that they are taped and will be available on the Internet.

Any old information from the current website (minutes, etc.) will be archived and continue to be available.  Documents will be searchable.

Agenda Item #5: Jan Carl Park’s Farewell

Mr. Park, who officially retires on November 29th, gave a moving account of his life in public service, talking about how he came to NYC as a journalist and covered the unfolding AIDS epidemic when mainstream media ignored it.  He related his long service in City government under multiple administrations and the importance of working from the inside, along with advocating and confronting government from the outside.  After taking break from government to get his Master’s Degree at Harvard, he returned to government service – first in the Tri-County region, then at NYC DOHMH.  As foremost a person living with HIV, he has given his best to bring fellow PLWH into the policy and decision making process.  He thanked the Council staff, DOHMH and Public Health Solutions colleagues, fellow Council members, Council leaders including Mr. Lesieur, colleagues from the AIDS Institute and the community.  He will be working as a consultant with HRSA, where he currently provides technical assistance to other EMAs and planning councils.  The NY Council is the best in the country, but can still be better, and he encouraged everyone to bring their best on behalf of PLWH.  There will be a national search for a new Council director.  In the meantime, Council staff and leadership will make sure the work continues.

Council members, staff and members of the community thanked Mr. Park for his work and inspirational leadership and wished him the best for this retirement.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

Minutes approved by the HIV Planning Council on December 19, 2019