National Coalition for LGBT Health Advocacy Brief – February 19, 2020

Sign On Letter to Ensure Copays Count

Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) rule outlining planned changes that will impact the nation’s health insurance marketplace. This year’s proposed rule, released on January 31, issued a major blow to consumers by walking back a ban on accumulator adjustment programs (also known as co-pay accumulator programs). These programs, adopted by some insurers, prevent individuals who use coupons or “co-pay cards” provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers to off-set the cost of their prescription medications, from counting these coupons toward their deductible or out-of-pocket spending limit.
The Coalition is submitting a letter to the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services expressing concern about this development. Please join us in our efforts to ensure “Copays Count” by signing on to the letter by Friday, February 21st.

ACTION: Click Here to Sign the Letter

The National Coalition for LGBT Health ran a “Copays Count” campaign last year to address adjustment accumulator programs. Due to the resurfacing of these programs, the Coalition is re-launching its campaign this month. The campaign will raise awareness of pharmacy benefit manager’s (PBMs) implementation of programs that no longer count drug manufacturer’s co-pay card towards deductibles. The Coalition’s campaign will highlight how shifting drug costs will impact access to essential medicines.

Join Us for National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week – March 23-29, 2020 

The National Coalition for LGBT Health will be hosting the National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week on March 23 – 29, 2020. The Awareness Week will bring attention to the health disparities impacting the LGBTQ+ community, educate the LGBTQ+ community about health issues, and educate medical and healthcare professionals in the area of cultural competence in regard to LGBTQ+ health.

We encourage you to sign up to be a partner for the National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week. As a partner, your organization will promote the week to your networks and participate in public awareness activities. Additionally, your organization will be listed on the National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week Website and promotional materials. There is no cost to be a partner.

ACTION: Sign Up as a Partner

Updated LGBT Health Training and Certificate Program Coming Soon

The National Coalition for LGBT Health is currently working on updating and accrediting the LGBT Health Training and Certificate ProgramTM. The certification program provides professional development to clinical and allied health care providers, cultivating new skills and enhancing the delivery of high quality, culturally competent care to the LGBTQ+ community. The program will include a comprehensive series of modules on LGBTQ+ health education, focusing on care provision, service delivery, and healthcare systems. After completion of the course and final exam, participants will receive a Certificate of Proficiency in LGBTQ+ Health.

The President Releases the National Budget

The administration released the National Budget last Tuesday, February 10th.  The Budget Report includes provisions that will have major impacts on healthcare in the upcoming years.

The administration wants to allocate funding to “Combating the Drug Abuse and Opioid Epidemic”. The budget would invest $5 billion in the Department of Health and Human Services to combat the opioid epidemic, increase research, surveillance, prevention, treatment, access to overdose reversal drugs, and recovery support services. The funding would include $1.6 billion for State Opioid Response grants, which support prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

The budget will continue the initiative to “End the HIV Epidemic” in America. The budget includes $716 million for the 2nd year of the multiyear initiative to eliminate new HIV infections in America. The budget allocates funds to the CDC, Health Resources and Services Administration, Ryan White HIV/AIDS, Indian Health Services, and the National Institute of Health. The goal of these funds are to reduce the number of infections, enhance the delivery of HIV care, supply testing, evaluations, and access to PrEP, and identify effective interventions to treat and prevent HIV.

The budget refers to the makeup of Medicare and Medicaid as “harmful to the integrity of the Federal Government”. While there are provisions designed to “protect and improve” the Medicare Program, the same can’t be said for Medicaid. In regards to Medicare, the budget proposes to preserve beneficiary access to care by increasing choice and competition. Additionally, the budget proposes to align payments for post-acute care with patients’ needs and the most clinically appropriate site of care, while expanding access to tele-health services. The administration claims this change will extend the solvency of Medicare for the next 25 years. In regards to Medicaid, the budget proposes to reduce Medicaid funding while increasing funding for Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control programs. The Budget Report proposes to reform the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services’ to make it more difficult to qualify for Medicaid.

Read More on the Budget

LGBTQ+ Voter Registration

According to a recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Williams Institute, approximately 21% of LGBTQ+ adults aren’t registered to vote. This is compared to an estimated 17% of non-LGBTQ+ adults. Approximately 9 million LGBTQ+ adults are eligible and registered to vote next November, according to the most recent poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in collaboration with the Williams Institute and Thomson Reuters. Half of this community said they were Democrats, while 22% were independents and 15% were Republicans. Ensure that your voice is heard by registering to vote using the link below.

Read More on the Study ACTION: Register to Vote

Join the National Coalition for LGBT Health at SYNChronicity (SYNC) 2020, May 10-12, 2020

SYNChronicity (SYNC) 2020 brings together medical professionals, service providers, government officials, and health advocates to sync effective approaches to address HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ+ health in the changing and dynamic health care landscape, with a focus on underserved racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ communities. The conference is organized by HealthHIV, HealthHCV, and the National Coalition for LGBT Health with the guidance of a diverse planning committee.
This year’s LGBTQ+ Health track will contain four dynamic sessions focused on improving health care access for LGBTQ+ communities, using data to advance quality care and identify gaps in care, advocating for smoking cessation practices and programs to reduce smoking rates, and advancing sexual health and other allied health programming to promote health equity.  Additionally, SYNC 2020 will offer a Transgender Health Institute providing learning and engagement opportunities to promote integration of transgender health in practice. Plus, there for will be a poster hall and vendor exhibits.
The conference is an opportunity to connect with your colleagues and peers to discuss LGBTQ+ health advocacy, education, and health services research! You can register now to attend the conference May 10-12, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.

ACTION: Register Today!

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