Last Updated on October 5, 2020 by Nirah Johnson

Hep Free NYC Advocacy Committee – Quarterly Meeting

Via webinar – September 23, 2020 (3 – 5 PM)

Committee Goals: Review current Hep B and C Advocacy initiatives, plan for Hep Free NYC partner involvement and work on strategies to move towards elimination of viral hepatitis.

Attendees listed below

Meeting Notes

Advocacy Committee Needs New Leadership

  • Description of current advocacy leadership structure
    • Annette Gaudino as lead and supported by Reed Vreeland, Mike Selick
    • Core group of advocates (ELF, HCMSG, COPE, and others)
  • Seeking new advocacy committee leaders as Annette needs to step down by the end of the calendar year

New York City

  • City Council Viral Hepatitis Initiative FY21 budget outcome
    • Sustainability planning – developing plan to ask for funds to be baselined
      • To avoid annual fight for discretionary funds and threats to article 6 match from NYS
      • Precedent exists, IDUHA funding for needle exchanges got baselined and all programs got funded
    • Planning for FY22 budget season
      • City Council will have new Health Chair
      • Strong advocacy is needed to keep and grow the current Viral Hep Initiative
  • NYC Viral Hep Elimination Planning – update
    •  Will convene working group to review; will send to community members via email and survey tool to allow diverse groups to review and comment
    • Will present report at Hep Free NYC coalition meetings

New York State  

  • NYS Hep C Elimination Campaign – update
    • Statewide task force sent recommendations to the Governor; Gov hasn’t taken any action on it yet
    • NYS has created a public facing dashboard, access it here.
      • Dashboard is intended to track progress towards elimination targets using 2016 as a baseline, and based on surveillance data (not mathematical models)
  • NYS Medicaid
    • NYS became the 3rd state in the nation along with Louisiana and Washington to remove most prior authorization requirements
    • The NYS Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board (DURB), unanimously voted to recommend removal of prior authorizations for patients for their first hepatitis C direct acting antiviral (DAA) treatment at their meeting in July. This recommendation was confirmed/approved by the NYS Health Commissioner. For more information, see meeting notes (p. 5).
      • This will likely be implemented by Fee for Service (FFS) providers quickly
      • It will require advocacy efforts directed at the Managed Care Organizations (MCO’s) to confirm implementation. Commercial insurers would require action by the State Insurance Board.
    • 340B updates
      • Is a federal, not a state program; is often used by FQHC’s, Ryan White and homeless health providers who use the discount received to fund outreach and other services
      • Proposed changes by MRT (Medicaid Redesign Team) to cut approx. $2 billion by moving pharmacy benefit from managed care to fee for service (FFS)
      • Will result in 25%-50% cuts
      • For more info on effort to save the healthcare safety net click here.


To do

 Meeting planning

  • Plan for quarterly meetings
  • Save the date for next meeting: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 3-5pm


  1. Alecia Charles, SUNY Downstate,
  2. Anna Mageras, Mount Sinai Medical Center,
  3. Annette Gaudino, TAG,
  4. Betty Kolod MD, Mount Sinai Health System,
  5. Bruce Glazer, AbbVie,
  6. Farah Riazi, Mount Sinai Health System,
  7. Fatima Omarufilo, Montefiore Medical Center,
  8. Fernando Valerio, Community Health Care Networks,
  9. Gail Brown, COPE,
  10. James Spellman, Gilead,
  11. Joy Cambe, Empire Liver Foundation,
  12. Lilas Kodjo, NYC DOHMH,
  13. Liz Tang, NYC DOHMH,
  14. Marie Bresnahan, NYC DOHMH,
  15. Matthew Akiyama, Montefiore Medical Center,
  16. Nirah Johnson, NYC DOHMH,
  17. Paul Lee, Korean Community Services,
  18. Perla Romero, Alliance’s Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center,
  19. Reed Vreeland, Housing Works,
  20. Rob Desrouleaux, HCMSG,
  21. Ronni Marks, HCMSG,
  22. Sheila Vakharia, Drug Policy Alliance,

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