Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Send an email or letter by April 3rd to #SaveRyanWhitePartD

As I have shared in previous posts such as this one, the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget (which begins October 1, 2015) for the second year in a row has proposed to eliminate Ryan White Part D, consolidating it with Ryan White C. Ryan White Part D funds care and services for women, infants, children, and youth, (teens, young adults) while Ryan White Part C funds services for early intervention and capacity development. 


Ryan White Part D, which is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) comprises only a small part of the overall Ryan White funding, but it is still important, and this proposal represents more than just a potential loss of dollars.  It sets a disturbing precedent of disregard and dismissal of marginalized subgroups such as women and teens/young adults, within the HIV community.

Ryan White Part D has been in existence since 1988. Many of its programs, including direct funding (in the past, not currently) of maternal/pediatric HIV research, are responsible for many of the gains in the field of HIV we now boast about today, such as reducing perinatal transmission of HIV by more than 90%, getting and retaining HIV+ women in care at rates more than double the national average, and stabilizing at risk women, youth and families by providing critical support services to aid them in their time of need. 


Ryan White is a "payer of last resort" which means that to qualify for it you have to meet certain income requirements and also need to be uninsured or underinsured. So Part D is serving individuals who are already experiencing economic hardship. Add to that the fact that youth and women in general - HIV positive ones in particular - are likely to face challenges such as unemployment, co-morbidities, virologic failure, abuse, substance use, and housing instability...and you can see that we are dealing with a population that is extremely vulnerable.


Today, I'm asking you to stand with us. Many of us are advocating for Ryan White Part D - JOIN us. There are many ways you can help, but the most pressing one is to help speak up for Part D with our legislators. 
Photo credit: Recruit Me





The addresses and more information is provided below. If you want to remain anonymous, use a pseudonym or initials or use the name "Save Ryan White Part D Initiative."  Feel free to modify or add on to the letter if you wish, or send your own. But please do something.

Additionally, if you are comfortable doing so, please try to advocate for Ryan White Part D on social media using the hashtag #SaveRyanWhitePartD. We need to blanket social media over the next few months with messages supporting the continuation of this vital program. 


To send a written or emailed testimony about Part D, follow the following instructions:

-If sending a letter by postal mail, send it to:

Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510

-If sending an email, the subject title MUST state: FY 16 LHHS OWT. The email address is:



*FOR BOTH EMAILS AND/OR LETTERS

-Correspondence must be no more than 4 pages (8 1/2 x 11 paper). Single spaced, single sided, and a 1 inch margin in Word of WordPerfect (no .PDFs)

-No cover letter

-At the top of the page state your name (or organization; if you don't want state your name, you can state Save Ryan White Part D Initiative where the name should be along with your initials). At the top also state the Department Agency it is about (Ryan White Part D, Health Resources and Services Administration, the HIV/AIDS Bureau). 

-Sign the letter.

-Contact information must be provided: Name, physical address, and telephone. If you do NOT wish to provide your personal contact info, you can use the name, address, and phone number of the Ryan White Part D Initiative, which is below:

Name: Save Ryan White Part D Initiative
Address: in c/o The HIV Resource Group; 500 Lovett Blvd, Suite 100; Houston, TX 77006



Below is the sample letter or email that can be used to advocate for Part D:





Save Ryan White Part D Initiative
FY 16 Outside Witness Testimony Re: Ryan White Part D (HIV/AIDS Bureau, HRSA)

March 24, 2015

Dear Senate LHHS Subcommittee:

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed elimination of Ryan White Part D and consolidation of the programs in to Ryan White Part C in the FY 2016 budget proposal. Respectfully, I am asking you to maintain Ryan White Part D as a designated category in the Ryan White funding - not consolidating it with Part C, as has been proposed.

As a unique part of the legislature, Ryan White Part D’s culturally sensitive, family-centered primary medical care and support services aim to increase access and help women, infants, children, and youth with HIV achieve optimal HIV medical outcomes. These critical services, which comprise under 6% of Ryan White funding, include coordinated care, sexual and reproductive health, specialized case management, mental health services, child care, transportation, outreach, peer-based programming, and more. As women and youth account for an alarming amount of HIV diagnoses, Part D’s targeted funding for both groups is vital.

As the Affordable Care Act brings new changes to American health care, retention in care during this transition period is essential. Many women served by Ryan White Part D have one or more minor children in their care. Over ¾ of Part D clients are racial minorities. Consolidating Part C and D in this manner (via budget appropriations) poses the risk of leaving vulnerable families and youth without the very services that have helped to reduce perinatal HIV transmission of HIV/AIDS by over 90% and retain HIV+ women in care at a rate nearly double the national average.

Moreover, the Ryan White legislation specifically designates Part C funding, focused on early intervention services and capacity development, separately from Part D. Although in recent years many Ryan White grantees have been dually funded by both parts, the focus of these programs are entirely different. The potential loss of Part D’s established network of vetted, culturally competent providers - many of whom are community based sub-grantees with years of experience serving this population – could have disastrous consequences for individuals, families, and communities. The risk of people falling out of care as a result of these changes is real, which could lead not only to negative health outcomes, but also to increased risk of more transmissions due to lack of viral suppression.

Ryan White Part D has a proven track record and has been instrumental into getting and keeping marginalized individuals living with HIV in care. I respectfully request that you 1) vote to reject the proposal to consolidate Ryan White Part C and Part D and 2) retain Ryan White Part D as a distinct targeted category with adequate funding to serve these vulnerable populations. Our families that are living with HIV deserve nothing less. Thank you for your consideration.

(Signature)

Name: Save Ryan White Part D Initiative
Address: In c/o The HIV Resource Group; 500 Lovett Blvd, Ste 100; Houston, TX 77006
Phone: (713) 526-1016


Photo credit: The Guardian