As part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to plan for the 2013 reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has launched a number of activities to collect ideas from stakeholders that will inform our policy deliberations.
The Ryan White Program is the largest Federal program specifically dedicated to providing HIV care and treatment. It funds heavily impacted metropolitan areas, states, and local community-based organizations to provide life-saving medical care, medications, and support services to more than half a million people each year—including the uninsured and underinsured, racial and ethnic minorities, and people of all ages. Currently authorized by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, the program will be up for reauthorization by the U.S. Congress in 2013.
Among the issues being discussed within HHS is the question of what the Ryan White program should look like in an environment of a health care system reformed by implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In light of the expansion of health insurance coverage that implementation of the ACA will bring, the Ryan White Program will certainly evolve. But as my colleague Dr. Deborah Parham Hopson, HRSA’s Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, has noted, though the reauthorized Ryan White Program may ultimately look different, it will still serve as an important “safety net” for vulnerable populations living with HIV/AIDS.
Stakeholder Comments Sought
In a Federal Register Notice dated April 25, 2012, Dr. Mary K. Wakefield, Administrator of HRSA, invited comments from stakeholders about reauthorization of the Ryan White Program. HRSA encourages stakeholders, including grantees, advocacy organizations, State and local administrators, and other members of the Ryan White and HIV/AIDS communities to provide comments on all aspects of the program. Submit written comments online by July 31.
Listening Sessions Planned
HRSA has also announced that it will hold at least four webinar or teleconference listening sessions over the next few months to collect stakeholder input on Ryan White Program reauthorization issues. Each will focus on a different geographic region. Dates, times and other details will be published on HRSA’s Ryan White Reauthorization web page as they become available. [UPDATE: The Listening Sessions occurred in July 2012]
The services offered through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program continue to be an essential component of our efforts to reach the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. We look forward to working with our colleagues at HRSA and stakeholders from across the nation to consider how the program can most effectively be adapted in light of evolving needs, priorities and policies. I encourage you to share your thoughts on reauthorization via the forums that HRSA is making available.