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, charles@downstate.edu
  2. Anna Mageras, Mount Sinai Medical Center, mageras@mssm.edu
  3. Annette Gaudino, TAG, gaudino@treatmentactiongroup.org
  4. Betty Kolod MD, Mount Sinai Health System, bettykolod@gmail.com
  5. Bruce Glazer, AbbVie, glazer@abbvie.com
  6. Farah Riazi, Mount Sinai Health System, riazi@mountsinai.org
  7. Fatima Omarufilo, Montefiore Medical Center, alabaran@montefiore.org
  8. Fernando Valerio, Community Health Care Networks, fvalerio@chnnyc.org
  9. Gail Brown, COPE, cope@gmail.com
  10. James Spellman, Gilead, spellman@gilead.com
  11. Joy Cambe, Empire Liver Foundation, joycambe@empireliverfoundation.org
  12. Lilas Kodjo, NYC DOHMH, lkodjo@health.nyc.gov
  13. Liz Tang, NYC DOHMH, ltang@health.nyc.gov
  14. Marie Bresnahan, NYC DOHMH, mbresnahan@health.nyc.gov
  15. Matthew Akiyama, Montefiore Medical Center, makiyama@montefiore.org
  16. Nirah Johnson, NYC DOHMH, njohnso2@health.nyc.gov
  17. Paul Lee, Korean Community Services, plee@kcsny.org
  18. Perla Romero, Alliance’s Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, perla@alliance.nyc
  19. Reed Vreeland, Housing Works, vreeland@housingworks.org
  20. Rob Desrouleaux, HCMSG, rdesrouleaux@hepatitiscmsg.org
  21. Ronni Marks, HCMSG, ronnimarks24@gmail.com
  22. Sheila Vakharia, Drug Policy Alliance, svakharia@drugpolicy.org

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by HepFree NYC


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