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http://aidsunited.org
 
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Our Mission:
The SC HIV Task Force is a non-partisan advocacy coalition of individuals, non-profit organizations and allies committed to ensuring access to quality HIV prevention, treatment, care and linkage to services.
 
Our Sponsor: AIDS United
The SC HIV Task Force is funded by AIDS United.
 
AIDS United supports more than 400 grassroots organizations annually that advocate for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and the organizations that serve them with special emphasize on communities of color, women and people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. South.
 

aidsunited.org
 
AIDS United's policy staff has been instrumental in the development and implementation of major public health policies that improve the quality of life for those living with HIV/AIDS and ensure evidence based prevention programs to stop the spread of new infections.
Up-to-Date Documents
Right click any of these links and "Save As" to download these documents
2015 SCHTF Talking Points
 
Town Hall Flyers
Charleston Columbia
 
Expanding Medicaid in SC
(Task Force Talking Points)
SC ADAP Fact Sheet
(Feb 2013)
Task Force Pamphlet
DOC  or  PDF
 
SC ADAP Fact Sheets
Region 1 Region 2
Region 3 Region 4
Region 5 Region 6
Region 7 Region 8
 
Medicaid Expansion Preview
Special Fact Sheet Preview

Task Force Membership Application
Task Force Information Sheet
Fact Sheet 4/2012

 
Recent Advocacy Events:
Last April (2013), the Task Force held an Advocacy Day, joining with our  Medicaid Expansion partners from the SC Hospital Assoc.

In Jan (2014), once again we went to the State House to talk one-on-one with our Legislators. We thanked them again for the recurring ADAP funding put into the budget, and spoke to them about the necessity of Medicaid Expansion for SC.

In March (2014), we held free, open to the public Town Hall Forums discussing Medicaid Expansion and the ACA. These forums were held in Charleston (3/19) and Columbia (3/20).
 
Rally at the State House
Our previous Community Forums in March 2013 were in Columbia, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Greenville and Charleston.

Visit http://schtf.com/me4sc for pictures and stories of all these events.
Come LIKE us on Facebook and stay up-to-date with our announcements on your wall!

https://facebook.com/
schivtaskforce
Tweet us
@SCHTF
2015 SCHTF Talking Points Feb 2015
Download the
2015 Talking Points
as used in the recent
Legislative Breakfast Advocacy Event
 
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2015 Legislative Guide 2015
Every year, the York Electric Cooperative (York County) puts out the annual "Legislative Guide" edition of the "South Carolina Living" magazine. This informative guide not only gives all the mail and office location of every one of our Legislators (from the Governor, to the Senators, to the Representations); but there are pictures of our Legislators too! Use this handy guide next time you visit the State House and you'll know exactly who you're looking for when you ask your Legislator to come out into the lobby.

 Download this guide as a PDF
(or view the full magazine at http://scliving.coop/)
 
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Upcoming March Meeting 2/17/15
Save the Date!
Our February general meeting has been canceled and rescheduled to March 17, 2015  Please make sure to not only mark this date on your calendar; but make sure to invite someone to come with you. We will be meeting at Brookland Baptist Church 1066 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29169 (google maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/AZYVD)
 
Please RSVP as soon as possible so that we can have a proper count for lunch. Either reply to Michael our Communications Chair (communications@schtf.com) or use the RSVP form at http://schtf.com/rsvp.htm.
 
As per our Transportation Assistance Policy, any PLWHA/Consumer traveling from outside of Columbia to a Task Force event is eligible for travel assistance. To ensure that we have enough gas cards each meeting, please make sure to check the box on the RSVP form and enter the location from where you will be coming (or include that information in your email). If you do not request assistance prior to a meeting there is no guarantee that we will have a gas card for you, so please remember to RSVP with all the necessary information.
 
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Legislative Breakfast Advocacy Event 2/11/15
Our Legislative Breakfast Advocacy Event got back on track!
 
While we had been in the process of putting together a Legislative Breakfast as our last advocacy event of the grant year (ending 2/28/15), we were knocked off track when we discovered there was no available date for our event. We did however make sure to get February 16, 2016 on the schedule as the SCHTF's Legislative Breakfast next year.
 
However, within a week of believing our event was called-off, there was a cancelation in the schedule and we were able to schedule Feb. 11th for a Legislative Breakfast. Our Executive Committee quickly reached out to our contacts at the State House and DHEC to make the arrangements of inviting the Legislators, ordering the food, preparing our talking points, and arranging the agenda.
   
Tuesday, February 11th, dawned chilly;
but bright, clear and sunny.
   
Several of our members from around the state started out very early, long before sunrise,
to meet up with our Columbia members at the Blatt Building by 7:30 am
.
SCHTF on the Schedule of the Events of the Day
Blatt Room 112 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am
   
Since our Communications Chair and Administrative Assistant have been sharing the display board frequently, we put together another information board and table set-up so that we can either attend two events on the same day, or so the Chair and Assistant don't have to meet up so often to exchange the larger, heavier display board.

Today's display came together today through the efforts of Gwen with an agenda and talking points; Maiava brought in several hundred more newly-printed pamphlets; and Michael had the table clothes, decorations and display board.
   
We had a great team of Greeters (Tricia, Michael, and Gerald) in front of the information table at the front door. We tried to make sure that every visiting Legislator or Staff member received a hearty handshake, a cheerful "Good Morning!", and of course - a copy of our Talking Points. Although it was early and cold, you can see that our Greeters has nothing but smiles for our Guests.
It took us a moment to realize that a few Legislators had tried to be "sneaky" and slip in or out the back door. However, Maiava (with help from Toni) quickly set up a secondary info table and made sure no one who took advantage of our breakfast slipped out with getting a hearty greeting - and a copy of our talking points.
 
A crew quickly set up an array of breakfast foods:
Eggs, bacon, link and patty sausages, grits, butter, biscuits,
along with a selection of juices and tea to drink.
   
A big THANKS goes out to Jim Manning for ensuring Legislators got invitations and that our event was properly advertised at the State House. And another BIG THANKS goes to Gwen Bampfield for all the late night work she put in on this project!
Our Presentation to the Legislators

Download the 2015 SCHTF Talking Points
   
Thanking our visiting Senators and Representative, Chair Gwen Bampfield, introduced the Task Force, our mission, the Executive Committee members who were present, and briefly presented our advocacy issues for ADAP and access to health care.
   
Next to the podium were David Alexander (MSW, Chair
SCHTF Consumer Empowerment Committee) and Gerald McNair (SC HIV Planning Council, Chair Positive Advocacy Committee) who both spoke from their personal experiences about the need for ADAP and the good outcomes the program has given the State and the PLWH citizens in our state.
   
HIV Practitioner Selena Lowery (MS, Medical Case Manager, SC HIV/AIDS Council) took the podium next to give our Guests an overview of ADAP, Insurance, and Access to Health Care from the position of a case manager. Selena discussed how ADAP is cost-effective quality-driven health care ensuring maximum benefits in the outcomes for patients.
 
Our special friend, June Cross (shown here beside Gerald McNair), whose film "Wilhemnia's War" was sponsored by the Task Force at the Oct 2014 STD/HIV/VH Conference. During this year, the Task Force hopes to help June screen this film all across South Carolina
June's cameraman,
documenting today's event.
 
What a great experience! Senators, Representatives, Staffers, SCHTF Members - all mingling, eating, chatting, discussing, and learning. There was a constant stream of visitors throughout our event. After our Greeters welcomed the visitors and pointed them towards the line for breakfast, other SCHTF Members mingled with the crowd making sure everyone was fed - and that everyone knew more about HIV in SC, ADAP, and the role of the SC HIV Task Force.
 
 
For the Communication Chair, I can be such a dunce sometime! LOL Before coming to today's event, I neglected to get in touch with my Representative and invite her to our meeting - even though I'm Facebook friends with my Representative. Luckily, Representative Raye Felder (on the right in these pictures) was on the ball! She saw our event on the schedule and made a point to stop by, even though she says she usually doesn't attend Breakfast events.
 
Members of the SC HIV Task Force, friends, allies, Senators and Representatives
came together for a great Legislative Breakfast Advocacy Event.
   
 
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The Task Force is looking for an Executive Director 1/12/15
As we have discussed for some time, the Task Force is seeking to gain nonprofit status. We are now accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. This position will initially begin as a part-time position to strengthen organizational capacity in achieving intersectional collaborations and partnerships within and outside of the HIV/AIDS field while strengthening the base of support through the meaningful inclusion of persons living with HIV/AIDS. In our effort to continue the Task Force's visibility and its role in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS in South Carolina we are looking for a successor who can build upon and continue the organization's success and provide leadership and work to establish a SCHTF Board of Directors as it continues to expand.
Reporting to the Chair of SCHTF Executive Committee, on an interim basis until the establishment of the Board of Directors, the ED will work closely with the Executive Committee as part of a team that strengthens the sustainability of SCHTF. The Executive Director will be responsible for building and maintaining community partnerships and funder relationships, providing strategic leadership as well as organizational management and program oversight, conducting organizational assessment and evaluation, and providing Board support.
 
If you would like more information or would like to apply for this Executive Director position, please download this document (SCHTF_ED_Application.pdf) for requirements and contact information.
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January 2015 Meeting 1/20/15
January 20 Meeting Minutes
 
A packed house to start 2015!
   
We know you're using our website to keep informed; but have you LIKEd our Facebook page? Our Communications Chair makes sure to post interesting HIV, ADAP, and Medicaid Expansion information on our "wall". We hope that all of our members will use this page to post any advocacy events or opprotunities. The more we share across the state, the larger our voice can be when we all come together.
https://www.facebook.com/schivtaskforce
 
Access to Prevention:
Jim Manning spoke on the need to not only re-invigorate the Access to Prevention committee; but to re-invigorate the whole state on working to prevent any more HIV infections. While we advocate for the needs of People Living with HIV, we need to always be mindful of our duty to help prevent any more infections from happening in South Carolina.
Unfortunately, Jim had to break the news that we will not be able to hold a Legislative Breakfast at this time.
 
All time slots for morning, noon, and evening receptions have been filled for all of 2015. There is simply time for the Task Force to host an event until early 2016. Dr. Gaddist was tasked with ensuring the Task Force was scheduled for a Legislative Breakfast on February 16, 2016.
   
Although we are not a lobbying group, there was mention of H3020, the so-called "ACA Anti-Commandeering Act". This bill is passed would block all state employees and agencies from: establishing a health insurance exchange; enforcing the individual and employer health insurance mandates; expanding Medicaid; or acting as "navigators" to help any citizen get healthcare access through any part of the Affordable Care Act. If passed, this piece of legislation could hamper all departments of DHEC, not to mention it could keep the SC Ryan White/ADAP from paying premiums and/or co-pay
 
NOTE: As of early February, H3020 has been defeated in subcommittee,
   
Tricia Phaup, our Access to Care Chair, updated us on the ACA and ADAP. She reminded us that the deadline for ACA is Jan 15th. SC ADAP has been helping SC PLWH enroll in the ACA by paying insurance policy premiums and medication co-pays. The ADAP will even enroll a PLWH if they have zero income. ADAP policies help encourage patients to remain adherence, so it helps everyone in the state to make sure all PLWH have access to medications.
   
Tricia also brought up two important treatments: PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
and PEP (post exposure prophylaxis).
   
PrEP (currently the medication Truvada) is used by people who are not HIV positive to help prevent becoming positive. Truvada is 96% effective in preventing an HIV infection, and when combined with condoms is the perfect plan to ensure someone from being infected. Right now, ADAP does not pay for PrEP prescriptions; but there is a Truvada Patient Assistant Program to help purchase this medication. The problem right now is because of the newness of this kind of prescription (a medication for an illness the patient does not have) there are few doctors who understand and even fewer doctor who will prescribe this medication for prophylaxis purposes.
 
Anita Case, Executive Director of Catawba Care in Rock Hill let us know that the doctors at her clinic do prescribe PrEP; but the clinic does not help patients pay for the medication. The SC HIV/AIDS Council in Columbia has conducted a survey about PrEP and will have those results for the state soon. This information will help the Task Force consider what kind of advocacy work we might be able to do for PrEP, whether it's educating HIV negative people on how PrEP could help them, educating doctors on prescribing PrEP, or educating our Legislators on the need to budget for PrEP to be a tool in our fight against HIV in SC.
 
The Task Force was very fortunate to get an inside piece of information from members of the HIV Planning Council (http://schpc.org/). At their upcoming meeting on Feb. 23th, DHEC (Dept. of Health and Environmental Control) will announce that it will be looking at how to help cover the costs for PrEP.
 
PEP is used by HIV negative people who were exposed to HIV. Besides needle-sticks in a clinical setting, sexual assualt is the biggest reason an HIV negative person might want to use PEP. Listening to stories from Gwen Bampfield (SCHTF Chair and Executive Director of Access Network, Inc. in Bamburg), Tricia Phaup, and Johanna Haynes (Executive Director of CareTeam, Inc. in Myrtle Beach), we learned about several agencies providing PEP. There is a trial program to provide PEP administered through the ER and HIV care departments at MUSC in Charleston. Palmetto Health, serving Richland County, has a procedure to provide 5 days worth of meds and will connect the patient to a local clinic for followup and counseling. Careteam, with 6-8 cases a year, has been providing PEP in Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg counties for the last 9 years.
   
Because PEP is used in cases where someone is exposed to HIV, it is essential for treatment to begin with 72 hours. This makes having coverage for the cost of meds,counseling and assistance in place BEFORE needed as absolute necessity. Certainly the Task Force should also be advocating for and educating about the need for PEP.
   
   
We have a new interim Secretary! Johanna Haynes asked to step down a few months ago, and Toni Sells, our previous Secretary, has stepped back up to make sure we have minutes to document our meetings and to share with all our members. Our hopes have always been to make sure that our minutes and our website keep all our members connected across the state and keep everyone informed about our joint mission.
   
Vice-Chair Veronica Brisco, spoke to the group about the upcoming MLK Day March. As an advocate for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Veronica has been working on arrangement for HIV advocates to be part of the march on Martin Luther King Day. The plans are for these advocates to not only be near the front of the parade in Columbia; but for the group to place a giant red ribbon (provided courtesy of PALSS in Columbia) on the steps of the State House.
   
During our Strategic Planning and at the last general membership meeting, we discussed how the Task Force should join with other stakeholders. Participating in this parade will be a great way for members to join with the NAACP. To get the NAACP to begin to join with us, Vivian Armstrong (previous Vice-Chair) will make arrangements for a NAACP speaker to present at one of our upcoming meeting. Hopefully, by showing interest in their issues, we can get them to be interested in our issues - especially since so many of our issues are exactly the same.
 
Our Treasurer, Anita Case (Executive Director of Catawba Care), has a "sidebar" conversation with Communications Chair, Michael Bivens (volunteer and consumer) about the current financials and membership name badges, while Michael Luciano is taking notes.
We can never thank our Administrative Assistant, Maiava Blackwell, enough for all the work she does keeping the Task Force running strong. From lunches to agendas to gas cards to membership cards, Maiava handles all the big and little details that help keep the Task Force moving forward.
 
A huge round of applause to the crew from CareTeam in Myrtle Beach!! Six of them carpooled (well, they came in a van, so I guess they "vanpooled") for the long trip
   
Marlena Richardson, a member of the Positive Women's Network gave us information about an upcoming HIV/AIDS Awareness Walk in Orangeburg.
Click here to see a larger poster,
or to get more info about the event,
or to download the application for the walk.
 
Enjoying lunch
   
 
 
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December Meeting 12/18/14
Link to our 2015-2016 AIDS United Grant Application
December 18 Meeting Minutes
 
With many of our members coming from so far around the state, our meetings often start on "Columbia time" - that's about 10 minutes late. Vice-Chair Veronica Brisco stepped up to the plate and got our meeting off to a great start. After some general announcements about where the bathrooms were located and to turn off our cells phone, Veronica had us all go around the room to introduce ourselves and announce where we were lived. It was nice to not only see a few visitors; but to see how many members came from outside of Columbia. We want to thank each and every one of you for attending, whether you traveled 2 miles or over 200 miles!
 
When Chair-person Gwen Bampfield, from Access Networks, Inc., arrived, she began by bringing everyone up to date on the recent Strategic Planning Meeting held by the Executive Committee. AIDS United, our principle funder, will be not be funding one of the four agencies in our state that they have funded in recent years. The four agencies that have been funded are: the SC HIV Task Force (40k), Access Network, Inc. (28k), POSITIVE Voices (30k), and Catawba Care. The new objectives AIDS United are expecting of the agencies they fund are: racial justice, collaborations, and the Meaningful Inclusion of People living with HIV (MIPH).
 
Strategic Planning Review
For future meetings, the Task Force hopes to provide some new training for its members on policy advocacy. We will be checking into webinars and guest speakers from other advocacy organizations like SAC (Southern AIDS Coalition) and others. The return for this training will be that our members will be engaged in more Task Force activities, have more advocacy training, and be more informed on all the advocacy issues of the Task Force.
 
We believe this training will be especially important as we work towards more "racial justice". The Task Force will be looking to join more firmly with some of our stakeholders. The plan is for the SCHTF to join with the NAACP, with the hopes that many of our members will do the same. We then hope to educate the members of the NAACP on our issues and how we can help one another, while our members are more educated about the goals of NAACP and how we can help them. We also plan to be more involved with the SC HIV Planning Council (see below for more information), SC Equality (an organization fighting for equality for all SC Citizens including LGBT citizens) and Tell Them! (a grass roots advocacy group for sexual education and health care) to fulfill the collaboration portion of our grant objectives.
 
Of course, the Task Force has always had the meaningful inclusion of PLWH (People Living With HIV)! From involving more and more PLWH as part of the Executive Committee (from just one person for several years to nearly 50% of the current Executive Committee) to always including PLWH in our general membership.
 
SC HIV Planning Council (HPC) Collaboration
About a year ago when several more our members (HIV+ members) joined the HIV Planning Council, the Executive Committee of the Task Force selected our Communications Chair, Michael Bivens, to be our official representative to the HPC. The duty of our representative has been to deliver an update on the activities and future plans of the Task Force to the members of the HPC at their regular meetings. During our Strategic Planning Session, it was determined that the Task Force should look to expand this position. A letter was sent to the DHEC Co-Chair of the HPC (Susan Fulmer) requesting the Task Force have an official permanent voting-member seat as part of the council. The HPC Executive Committee will be meeting on Jan 27th and this issue is an item on their agenda. IF the Council Executive Committee believes the Task Force should be represented this way, they will put it to their general membership for a vote in February.
 
Historically, only one other group has requested seats on the council. The Ryan White Program asked for seats for all parts and was granted those seats. Since the Task Force has many members now who are also HPC members, we ask that these crossover members actively campaign for the acceptance of this seat on the HPC. (HPC members are listed on their website)
 
AIDS Watch
Gwen also spoke about the upcoming AIDS Watch in Washington DC and the 25 scholarships for PLWH. If any PLWH Task Force members need a letter of recommendation they should contact Gwen. We ask though that our members please apply with the intention of working at this advocacy event. We certainly don't want to be portrayed badly on a national level, so be serious and represent us!
 
AIDS Watch is an Advocacy Event that also includes Advocacy Training. Attendees will be trained in:
1) contextual knowledge of the financial and legal policy implications of HIV prevention and treatment. While personal stories are still important in educational situations (like peer counseling or a speakers bureau), personal stories are of much less importance in advocacy situations. Just being HIV positive is not all it takes to be a successful advocate these days.

2) appearance and presentation for advocacy work. You can tell a whiney story and cry about it; but nobody is going to cry with you anymore. Your story needs to have a purpose or moral that works with your advocacy issue and presents a solution. Many of the people who attended the recent SC HIV/STD/VH Conference had already heard this kind of message through the Guest Speaker Adam Thompson.

 
Collaborating with the AARP
The AARP accepts membership from anyone who is over 50 for a $12.50 fee. For reference, approximately 40% of South Carolinians are over 50 (that same demographic that regularly votes!), so that could potentially be a lot of allies for our issues. A benefit of joining (besides access to insurance and discounts) is their magazine. This free magazine covers health issues. As members of the AARP we can provide information for articles about HIV, its prevention, treatment and impact on our community.
 
Wilhemina's War by June Cross
Chair Gwen Bampfield also reviewed the STD Conference and our interactions with June Cross the director of "Wilhemina's War". (Youtube | Facebook) Since we were very fortunate that June Cross allowed us to preview this "work in progress", Gwen asked that we sign a nice thank you card for June. You might be interested in June's book, "Secret Daughter".
 
We definitely hope to be collaborating a few more times with June during next year. After she completes her documentary (sometime in February), she has graciously asked if the Task Force will help promote her feature and arrange for screening of this important film. Dr. Bambi Gaddist (Legislature Strategy Chair) was assigned to head up an ad hoc committee for the express purpose of making screening arrangements.
   
During our group discussion, several points were made:
1) The CDC has designated March as "Women and Girls HIV Awareness" month. Perhaps we can tie-in our advertising and screening of the movie with this awareness month.
2) Arrangements for a screening might be possible at the College of Charleston. David Pable and others will work with Dr. Gaddist on that agenda.
3) The Task Force should reach out to Wilhemina to ask whether she would be interested in attending our advocacy events or being a guest at any movie screening we might be able to arrange.
4) perhaps the Task Force can "share" this movie with AARP and NAACP as we collaborate further with these agencies
 
Conference update from the Communications Committee
Communications Chair Michael Bivens continued the discussion from earlier about our activities at the STD Conference and the results. Pitching in as she does, Maiava Blackwell (the Administrative Assistance for the Task Force) helped Michael distribute over 1,100 condoms, 290 flyers for our showing of Wilhemina's War, 380 SCHFT pamphlets, and 2 large bags of assorted candy. Michael and Maiava also spoke with 47 people in their "SCHTF: United We Stand" session presentation; while Michael spoke to another two dozen people in his advocacy training session at the Pre-Conference Institute.
   
Not letting a good thing go to waste, since we had new updated panels printed for our display board, Michael set up an information table at the Catawba Care's World AIDS Day event held in conjunction with Winthrop University. Another 40 SCHTF pamphlets were distributed at that event.
   
Michael finished by reviewing the Advocacy Training Session he lead at the Pre-Conference Institute. Nearly two dozen people, including some newer faces, participated in this session. During the recent Strategic Planning session held by the SCHTF Executive Committee
 
Elizabeth McLendon, local advocacy representative for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, not only shared some of their newest advertising materials; but she shared a letter from the office of SC Representative Mick Mulvaney thanking her for the HIV advocacy work many of us are doing here in the state.
 
Event Planning Session
The Task Force used today's meeting to discuss what kind of advocacy event to do next and what issue(s) we should advocate about at this time of year. Our State Legislature will be returning to Session soon so we want to make sure we speak with them at an appropriate time and about specific issues. Dr. Gaddist took the Speaker's Stand to guide us in this venture.
 
With Medicaid Expansion off the table for our current State Administration, statewide ASOs (AIDS Service Organizations) are looking for other venues such as ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), the Federal Marketplace, and DHEC (SC Dept of Health and Environmental Control) to get access to healthcare for their clients. Many times it's as simple as finding a way to pay the premiums of an insurance policy to keep access to healthcare including labs and medications.
 
In our advocacy efforts, we certainly don't want to endanger any of the ADAP funding that the State and Federal governments provide. In the past we have given "Thank You" cards to our Legislators, and while we are still thankful for the funding they have provided, our message needs to be different and stronger. It was suggested that we might consider what remediations are in place since there is no Medicaid Expansion. In other words, what is SC doing about these issues since they refuse to accept the full ACA (Affordable Care Act)? We have previously talked about HOP (Healthy Outcome Program); but is the State considering any other programs? Then we need to consider what SC is doing that other states are or are not doing.
 
The discussion resulted in a decision to make an inquiry to the State. The Task Force will ask DHEC (probably Chrystal Davis) about information of any gaps beyond the ADAP program. We would hope to receive some data about: what isn't working; the state involvement in paying insurance premiums; how many people are in care or out-of-care; and the findings of the data-to-care program.
 
Eventually, we determined to host a Legislature Breakfast as our next Advocacy Event. This event would invite Legislators to a delicious free breakfast where we would present speakers on a variety of topics. Perhaps this event could be a "Now What?" presentation. Now that our state has turned down Medicaid Expansion, what needs to happen now? We could present an address from DHEC, a discussion on where the gaps are going forward, and what is currently available. We could also educate the Legislators about formularies, access to care issues, ACA navigation and the potential effects of the Data-to-Care program
   
We also discussed about how we should talk about Medicaid Expansion. There is still another year in which our state could accept Medicaid Expansion paid at 100% by the Federal Government. After this next year, that amount will begin to decrease until ten years later when the Federal government will pay 90% of the Medicaid Expansion increase. As long as the next state fiscal budget is not complete, there is a chance for the state to accept Medicaid Expansion. The Task Force certainly needs to compile data about what other Republican-led states that HAVE accepted ME have done to accept those funds and then what they are doing with those funds. There's a chance we could find the right things to say to our Legislators to get them to change their minds on this chance to get health care access to more citizens in SC - especially those with HIV who are having trouble getting quality health care. Not to mention the benefits our state could see in routine testing done if every citizen had better access to affordable care.
 
Engaging youth
Gerald McNair (the Positive Advocacy Committee Chair from the HPC) turned the discussion next towards the topic of engaging youth in the Task Force and in advocacy leadership. I'm sure that you, like many of us, have looked around our meeting rooms and events and have noticed that we rarely see people involved with us who are under 30. As the HIV epidemic is still greatly affecting young people, each of us needs to actively engage in recruiting younger people into the Task Force. To have a truly inclusive message, we need to include the stories of young PLWH.
 
To reach out to the youth, we discussed collaborating with some of our fellow agencies who were already engaging youth. Working together with ASOs in the state, we should be able to find out what techniques are best to engage the youth and be able to share those techniques to other agencies. Of course, as any agency can already tell us, this process will be sort of hit-and-miss. We will find some youth who will be totally engaged in advocacy work, and others who will even not be concerned, and yet other who will need us to educate about our issues.
 
Two events were referenced that have attracted some youth. The Spoken Word, a youth HIV poetry competition, and the upcoming New Year's Day Walk for Diabetes, Obesity and HIV.
 
A decision was made by the group to task David Alexander (Chair of the CEC) with consulting with the Consumer Empowerment Committee to form an ad hoc committee with the responsibility of forming a Youth Advisory Board for the Task Force. This ad hoc committee will determine an age range (13-29 or 18-25), solicit the participation of young people at ASOs (perhaps as mentorships), consider if incentives are needed, use the ad hoc media committee (with Brian Ballard) to create a PSA recruiting young people to become SCHTF members.
 

Final Bits-n-Pieces

Johanna Haynes resigned as SCHTF Secretary, a part of the Executive Committee. We would like to thank Johanna not only for her recent service as Secretary but for her work as the previous Chair of the Task Force and other Subcommittee Chairs over several years.

Of course, Johanna's departure means an opportunity has opened up for another SCHTF member to step up and assist the Task Force as Secretary. If you would like to be considered for this position, please contact communications@schtf.com
At our last meeting, we had an issue with gas cards. So there won't be any confusion in the future, we will be requiring members, when they RSVP for a meeting, to also request travel assistance if they need it and indicate where they will be traveling from. As per our original Transportation Assistance Policy any PLWHA/Consumer traveling from outside of Columbia to a Task Force event is eligible for assistance. If you do not request assistance prior to a meeting there is no guarantee that we will have a gas card for you, so please remember to RSVP with all the necessary information.
The National Quality Center has proposed a "Training for Consumers on Quality" session be held in SC sometime this upcoming year of 2015. Adam Thompson was a very motivational speaker for the consumers at the Pre-Conference Institute. Training Consumers to understand Quality Control for Ryan White and other healthcare services would be very influential in helping many of our HIV+ leaders become more professional, while encouraging other HIV+ people to become more involved in ensuring quality HIV health care in SC.
One more ad hoc committee was created. Lane Brafford and Michael Bivens will be engaging with the Consumer Empowerment Committee. They will be initially looking at the LEAP program. In the end, this ad hoc Consumer Advocacy Training committee is tasked with preparing a curriculum for the Task Force to use for Advocacy Training for Consumers.
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Consumer Empowerment Committee Meeting 11/6/15
Following up on the energy from the Pre-Conference Institute and the work done by many SCHTF members who are also members of the HIV Planning Council (HPC) Positive Advocacy Committee (the PLWH committee at the HPC), Consumer Empowerment Committee Chair David Alexander called a meeting of the SCHTF consumers.
   
This meeting was a great success before it even started! For the first time in over four years, the consumers physically came together from across the state to meet.
 
   
Picking up from the Advocacy Training session at the Pre-Conference Institute, Michael Bivens (Communications Chair) held a more practical training. After reviewing our Medicaid Expansion Talking Points with the audience, Michael has members role-play meeting with a Legislator and telling them one of our talking points.

Michael went on to discuss the need to train more members to represent the Task Force with our Display Board. Further trainings will be offered in the future so that we can be at more informational/educational events around the state in the upcoming year.
   
As always, Maiava Blackwell did a great job putting together another meeting of the Task Force.
 
 
Brian Ballard, a member from the Rock Hill area, spoke to the crowd via a pre-recorded video. Some of us, who are also members of the HPC, had spoken to Brian about creating some videos. Unfortunately for the Positive Advocacy Group, the state health department did not authorize any videos
 
But their loss is our gain! Having spoken with the Consumer and Communications Chairs, Brian wanted to offer his services and suggested a marketing plan to make several Public Service Announcement style videos to recruit new members for the Task Force. As part of our upcoming grant includes a social media campaign and marketing for the Task Force, we look forward to working with Brian.
 
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SCHTF @ the SC STD/HIV/VH Conference 10/28,29,30/14
As we did the previous two years, the SC HIV Task Force attended the South Carolina HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Conference. At our information table in the past, we reached over 350 people and this year we reached that same goal!

And why not? We had brand spanking new graphics and stats for our display board! The board was first purchased before the conference in 2012. Since then we were able to influence our Legislators and gain funding for ADAP for 4 years and held 6 state-wide public forums about the benefits our state could have had accepting Medicaid Expansion. Not to mention we changed our mission statement and name! Remember when we were the "SC HIV/AIDS Care Crisis Task Force"?
 
Our information table was extra important this year as the only advertising we planned to do about our screening of "Wilhemenia's War" (more about this screening in a moment) was through postcards we passed our from our table. While Communications Chair Michael Bivens manned the table, Consumer Chair David Alexander and several others circulated through the morning crowd passing out more postcards.
   
Wilhemenia's War
 
Click to view a larger version
The SC HIV Task Force, and our friends at Avita, sponsored the South Carolina viewing of the movie "Wilhemina's War" by June Cross. This work in progress is the story is about a South Carolina grandmother struggling to help her loved ones through the scourge of HIV - but afraid that she may not be able to save the ones she loves the most.

See the trailer and learn more at
http://minaswar.wix.com/wilheminaswar

Special thanks to our friends at Avita for sponsoring the room and snacks for the audience.
   
We screened this movie on the first night of the 2014 SC STD/HIV/VH Conference in Columbia. Seating was limited to about 80 seats in the Hall of Fame Room of the Columbia Metropolitan Conference Center and we had several dozen people in attendance. We were very honored to not only have Representative Joe Neal present as a guest; but also June Cross, the creator of this very informative and emotional film. Both Representative Neal and June spoke to the audience afterwards. June told us about how making the film and how knowing and interacting with the family affected her and her crew. It was quite evidence that the audience was also affected by viewing the plight of Wilhemina and her family.
   
June Cross is still working to complete this film with some more footage of the family and their situation now that some time has passed. We are working with June so that the Task Force will be able to screen this movie in SC when it is completed. We are certain that many AIDS Service Organizations and advocacy groups can use this video to engage their clients and the public about the struggles dealing with HIV in SC
 
The Task Force also had Speakers for a session just as we did last year. Our Communication Chair Michael Bivens and our Administrative Assistant Maiava Blackwell led a session entitled "United We Stand: the SC HIV Task Force." Michael and Maiava spoke about the history, activities, talking points, and goals of the Task Force with the hope of recruiting new members. Unlike the small audience we had last year, this year our session was filled with over 48 people. Many people in the audience had quite a number of questions, not only about the Task Force, but about Medicaid Expansion, ADAP funding, the ACA, and the SC Healthy Outcomes Program (HOP). According to several people in the crowd, Michael and Maiava were both entertaining and informative while representing the Task Force and our mission.
   
"SCHTF Access to Care Committee" Chair Tricia Phaup, Guest Speaker David Malebranch, Lucy Dunlap, & "SCHTF Consumer Empowerment Committee" Chair David Alexander ??? & Elizabeth McLendon at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation information booth with "SCHTF Vice-Chair" Veronica Brisco
   
Guest Speaker David Malebranch, and Susan Fulmer (HPC) Guest Speaker Adam Thompson and Susan Fulmer (HPC)
   
During lunch, the Positive Women's Network (and a few men!) held a mini-demonstration. This was a perfect reminder that, as we do prevention, advocacy and HIV health care work in the state, we need to always remember to include everyone and not leave any group out in the cold. Our voice and our power is always greater in numbers.
   
2014 Award Winners
Teretha Fowler Rick Felder
and the crew from Careteam, Inc.
   
Guest Speakers
Dr. Mindy Fullilove gave an incredibly interesting keynote speech after lunch the first day in which she showed correlations between urban development. Dr. David Malebranch gave a very engaging keynote speech on the morning of the second day talking about what was certainly a buzzword at this year's conference - resiliency.
 
Last, but certainly not least, Adam Thompson gave a wonderful closing speech summing up many of the recurrent themes throughout the Pre-Conference Institute and the 2-day Conference. Adam encouraged us all to develop in ourselves the skills we need to bring to the table to create quality advocacy and health care work in every aspect of our fight against HIV in SC.
 
The Conference was filled people from all over the state and from all sorts of occupations. Teachers, doctors, nurses, students, case managers, advocates, and activists. Task Force members Rick Felder, Elizabeth McLendon, and David Pable joined with Guest Speaker Adam Thompson, along with Task Force members Michael Bivens and Veronica Brisco for a final picture as the Conference ended.

I think I can honestly say that we all found the Conference enlightening, encouraging, entertaining, educational and energizing.
 
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SCHTF @ the Pre-Conference Institute 10/28,29,30/14
Prior to the annual SC STD/HIV/VH Conference, the state was able to provide a special one-day conference for People Living with HIV. Representatives from the Health Dpt., Ryan White Programn
   
During the morning sessions, over 85 Persons Living with HIV in SC were able learn more about how the State deals with HIV. Representatives from the Health Department gave updates on Ryan White Programs parts B and D, along with HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS). Other sessions gave updates on ADAP (AIDS Drugs Assistance Program) with the Affordable Care Act, and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
   
   
There was a lot of information, stats, and funding amounts in today's sessions. Just two of the most interesting numbers were 1) there are now 15,695 people living in HIV in SC, and 2) ADAP costs $2,944,700 a month for a total of $35,336,400 annually. Just think how much we education we had to share with our Legislators to get them to just contribute $5 million a year! Why that's just a month and a half worth of ADAP expenses!
 
Guest Speaker Adam Thompson
 We were treated to a very information and motivating conversation with Adam Thompson. From the National Quality Center, Adam has a message that People Living with HIV have to get more engaged and more fully collaborate with the agencies that help us have access to health care. We need to be more informed and we have to do more. We have to stop waiting for others to teach us; but go learn on our own. We have to let go of our entitlement mindset, and build the skills needed to do the work of stopping the spread of HIV.
 
After lunch, the afternoon was spilt into several break-out sessions, each lead by an HIV+ person. Task Force Member Stacy Jennings led a session entitled "Healing and Empowerment through Poetry", while Task Force Member Deadra Malloy gave a session entitiled "One Woman's Journey of Love, Acceptance and Disclosure". Communications Chair Michael Bivens led the "Strength in Numbers: Advocating for Ourselves" session that was part SCHTF recruitment and part advocacy training.
   
The Task Force would like to thank everyone who put together such a great undertaking of this consumer conference, especially as it was put together in such a short time. Further thanks go to our Members who were session speakers!
   
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Session Documents from SCHTF 10/28,29,30/14
The Task Force provided a number of documents along with our presentations at the 2014 South Carolina STD/HIV/VH Conference. You can find copies of the presentations and documents below. Just right-click and chose "save as" to download any of these documents.
 
Pre-Conference Institute Documents  
Presentation: Advocating for Ourselves

Documents
All Docs in a ZIP file

01 2014 Consumer_Advocacy_Survey  |  02 2014 PCI Agenda  |  03 Lobbying Activism and Advocacy  |  04 ADAP-SHARP Report  |  05 ADAP_SC_Fact_Sheet_Feb2013  |  06 Using Your Story for Advocacy  |  07 Dressing for Successful Advocacy  |  08 Tips for Talking with Your Legislator
2014 SC STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Conference
Presentation: "United We Stand"
   
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SC Viewing of "Wilhemenia's War" 10/29/14

The SC HIV Task Force is happy to announce that we, and our friends at Avita, will be sponsoring the South Carolina viewing of the movie "Wilhemenia's War" by June Cross. This work in progress is the story is about a South Carolina grandmother struggling to help her loved ones through the scourge of HIV - but afraid that she may not be able to save the ones she loves the most.

See the trailer and learn more at
http://minaswar.wix.com/wilheminaswar

Click to view a larger version
We will be screening the movie on October 29th for the 2014 SC STD/HIV/VH Conference in Columbia. Seating is very limited! If you will be attending this year's conference, please stop by our booth in the Exhibition Hall to learn more details.
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2014 Pre-Conference Institute
2014 SC STD/HIV/VH Conference
10/28/14
10/29-30/14
 
Once again the SC HIV Task Force will be attending the South Carolina HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Conference. As we have in years passed, the Task Force will have a booth in the Exhibition Hall. Make sure to stop by and say Hi!

The Task Force will also have Speakers for a session as we did last year. Our Communication Chair Michael Bivens and our Administrative Assistant Maiava Blackwell will lead a session entitled "United We Stand: the SC HIV Task Force." Michael and Maiava will speak about the history, activities, talking points, and goals of the Task Force with the hopes of recruiting new members. If you have friends or co-workers who will be attending the conference, and who aren't members of the Task Force, please encourage them to attend this important session.
But that isn't the only venue where the Task Force will be speaking for the Conference! We are also glad to announce that our Communications Chair will be leading a session entitled "United We Stand: Advocating for Ourselves" at the Pre-Conference Institute. Our goal is to energize advocates, entreat new consumers to join the Task Force, and do a little bit of advocating training.
 

Click to download a
PDF version
Thanks to the sponsorship of SC Ryan White ADAP, this year a special one-day event for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), who are residents of South Carolina, has been planned before the annual SC STD HIV Viral Hepatitis Conference.

If you are living in SC with HIV, you are invited to attend this special "2014 Update for PLWHA" on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Morning sessions will discuss updates on South Carolina's Ryan White programs, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Guest Speaker, Adam Thompson will share information from the National Quality Center about Quality Management activities in our state. The afternoon will provide a choice of sessions presented by members of the SC HIV Planning Council's Positive Advocacy Committee. In the true spirit of "nothing about us without us," the Presenters of these sessions are People Living with HIV here in SC.
Pre-registration is required! There will be NO on-site Registration!! The DEADLINE has recently been extended. Completed registrations must be received by Oct. 21st. Registration forms are available from the conference website (http://www.schiv-stdconference.org/) or the HIV Planning Council website (http://www.schpc.org/).

The Task Force also has links to the registration and scholarship form.
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September Meeting 9/23/14
September 23 Meeting Minutes
Although several members of our Executive Committee were unable to attend this quarter's meeting, we had a packed house ready to continue moving our advocacy work forward. Vice-Chair Veronica Brisco easily stepped up to lead and did an excellent job! Veronica worked hard to not only keep the meeting on track with our time; but she ensured that everyone - visitors and members - had an opportunity for questions and comments. Veronica welcomed Cherisse Eatmon from TellThem!, the new Bristol-Myers-Squibb representative, Heather Barton, along with long-time ally Rick Felder, representative from Janseen. She went on to thank Andy Sidden, Pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ, for the guests he brought to the meeting.
   

Communications Committee Update  
Michael Bivens, Communications Chair, and his committee have been very busy as of late. Time is counting down to the South Carolina HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Conference where Michael and our Administrative Assistant, Maiava Blackwell, will lead a session entitled "United We Stand: the SC HIV Task Force." Michael and Maiava will speak about the history, activities, talking points, and goals of the Task Force with the hopes of recruiting new members.
If you have friends or co-workers who will be attending the conference, and who aren't members of the Task Force, please encourage them to attend this important session.
   
On the day prior to the Conference, Michael is scheduled to speak at another event, the Pre-Conference Institute. He will be leading a session entitled "United We Stand: Advocating for Ourselves" at. Our goal is to energize advocates, entreat new consumers to join the Task Force, and do a little bit of advocating training.

Speak Guest Speaker: Ben Ellington
"
The status of our nonprofit application"
Ben Ellington, our technical assistance from AIDS United, was our Guest Speaker today, updating us on our progress towards obtaining nonprofit status.

First, Ben led us through a short history of the Task Force as we began under the auspices of the SC HIV/AIDS Council, then under Careteam, Inc., and now under Access Network. Ben went on to discuss the various documents that have been put together for our nonprofit application - articles of incorporation, tax form 1023, and lobbying form #5763.
Ben has used our "Terms of Engagement" to craft a set of by-laws for our organization. The Executive Committee has been tasked with reviewing and approving this document so that it can be included in our application. Upon completion and entry of our application, Ben suggested it might be a matter of 60 days or so afterwards when we could see approval of our nonprofit status. WooHoo!
   
Ben also discussed another issue our group needs to consider - hiring an Executive Director. Our budget currently contains funding to hire a part-time Director before our nonprofit status is officially granted. Of course, as time moves on, the Task Force will need to find additional funding to ensure we continue properly paying a Director. In the meantime, we need to consider the qualifications for our new Director and create procedures to accept applications and interview people for the position. Many of these decisions will be considered in our upcoming "Strategic Planning Session" (more on this later).
Michael (upper lft) concentrates on taking good notes -
so he can write this update. ;-)

Consumer Empowerment Committee:  
At our last meeting, a special election was held by the members of the Consumer Empowerment Committee (CEC) to replace resigning chair, David Pable. With this meeting, we were introduced to new Chair David Alexander, and Stacey Massard, who was elected to the brand new position of Vice-Chair for this committee.
   
David's first topic was dealt with some our recent discussions about HOP (the "Healthy Outcomes Program" which SC is implementing after turning down Medicaid Expansion). At a past meeting, we created an ad hoc committee to determine how the Task Force should advocate for or against HOP. Part of the planning determined that not only should the Task Force create "Talking Points" about HOP; but we needed to collect stories from consumers about how the health care disparities in our state were affecting them.
 
If you are HIV positive, living in SC, and have a compelling story about how you have been affected by not having access to health care, how Medicaid Expansion could help you gain access to health, or how HOP you could help you, please contact David Alexander. The Task Force would like to have your story, as the personal element, when we advocate about Medicaid Expansion and/or HOP.
 
David also discussed the necessity of reaching out to other People Living with HIV to engage them in our advocacy work. At our past Strategic Planning Session, we had also discussed developing plans to do regional consumer advocacy training. There are over 15,000 PLWH in SC and yet very few have joined in advocating for the needs of people living with HIV. However, if we never reach out to those people, how will they ever know how much we need them to join us - to advocate for their own needs as a PLWH?
 
We were next introduced to Gerald McNair, the chair of the Positive Advocacy Committee (PAC), which is the consumer advisory committee to the HIV Planning Council (HPC - an advisory council to the Dpt. of Health and Environmental Control). Gerald spoke to the group about the upcoming Pre-Conference Institute. The deadline for consumers to return their registration and scholarship forms has been extended to Oct 21st.

David closed his section by encouraging everyone to make sure they were not only registered to vote; but that they will follow through with the most important part of actually voting.
David Alexander (left), Chair of the SCHTF Consumer Empowerment Committee (CEC) and Gerald McNair (right), Chair of the HPC PAC (HIV Planning Council Positive Advocacy Committee)
 

Stakeholders Committee Update:  
Kevin Johnson, the Chair of Stakeholders Committee, spoke to how all Task Force Members should try to engage new Stakeholders with the Task Force. A Stakeholder would be any group or agency that has similar goals with the Task Force. For example, groups that are engaged in sexual education or prevention programs, or groups that deal with chronic illnesses would have some similar goals in gaining access to health care.

If you know of any agencies, organizations, or businesses that might be interested in assisting us in our goals, please download and use this Membership Application form. Please have this potential ally complete the form and email it to Kevin Johnson (kjohnson28937@hotmail.com) for follow-up by the Stakeholder Committee.
As to current allies of the Task Force, Kevin spoke about the couple of dozen agencies associated with the "Accept ME SC" group and the SC Hospital Association (SCHA) which are both concerned about access to health care and Medicaid Expansion. Another set of allies like Planned Parenthood and Tell Them! share our goals of HIV education and prevention; while our allies at SC Pride, Black Pride and SC Equality share our goals of reducing stigma and discrimination, along with HIV education and prevention.
Kevin also reminded us of the upcoming "National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day" on September 27th. For more information about Gay Men's Awareness Day, or the upcoming National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (Oct. 15th), World AIDS Day (Dec. 1st), or any of the thirteen HIV Awareness Day visit the http://www.aids.gov/news-and-events/awareness-days/ website

Access to Prevention Committee Update:  
   
Next on the agenda, Jim Manning from the Access to Prevention Committee, picked up the last note from David Alexander and continued a discussion about "getting out the vote". The cut off date for registering to vote is coming up soon, and we need to make sure that everyone we know is registered.

However, Jim did mention, and a wink and a nod, that it would be good if everyone would just stay home on Election Day. That way when he went out to vote, he'd be sure the "right" people got elected. LOL
Of course, as the Task Force is non-partisan, none of our Committee Chairs suggested any particular candidates or issues that might appear on the ballot. As an advocacy group it should go without saying that we think voting is the number one job any of us can do as an American citizen to advocate for ourselves. Our votes put the people into office that make the decisions that affect us.
 

Access to Care Committee Update:
Closing out our meeting, Tricia Phaup, new Access to Care Committee Chair, was aided by Jim in discussing our ad hoc committee dealing with the Healthy Outcome Program (for more information about this South Carolina program introduced to help with those who would have been covered under Medicaid Expansion). Several of our members have been attending state meetings about HOP looking for ways the Task Force should or could be concerned with this program. The Task Force is still present with more questions. Like might there be a function the Task Force can do and also have access to some of the funding? Could people using ADAP have access to the new expanded family planning program call "Checkup" which allows for additional screening and expanded services? However, if enrolled in "Checkup", from where would the funding for continued health care for these patients come? While the Task Force still hasn't found out all the answers, once we know these answers we will be able to share this knowledge across the state to help People Living with HIV get access to healthcare.
   
Tricia announced that enrollment into the next year of the ACA Marketplace would be opening from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15th. A new insurance carrier, Assurant, in now in the market; but Consumers Choice silver plan has been the go-to plan for most PLWH. Coventry BC/BS, which has been filling it's prescriptions through Panther RX is unfortunately planning on moving many HIV into higher tiers, especially the ones still under patent. Sadly, highly tiers mean the meds come at a higher cost to the consumer.
 
After a few short notices, Veronica closed out the meeting asking two members to take the floor who had current examples of how easy Advocacy is and that quite often it as simple as a call, email or letter to a Legislator. Pat Wilder discussed the response she received after writing to her Congressman about the Ryan White Equity and Choice Act. Joyce Belton told the group about the phone call she received from Senator Sanford's office in response to a letter she had sent advocating for PLWH.
 
Our next meeting is scheduled for December 18th.
Please mark your calendars!
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Summer Meeting 7/29/14
July 29th Minutes
 
It was time to get out of the pool, come back from vacation and get out of air conditioned offices for a while to come to our air conditioned meeting! Coming to our July meeting was especially nice as we have moved to a much nicer location over at the USC School of Medicine Lower Lecture Hall. The space was very nice with good acoustics and handy desks (with electric outlets if you needed to plug in your phone or tablet!)
   
Conference Updates:
The meeting was started off by our Chair Gwen Bampfield, with a recap of the ONAP listening session in Columbia in May. Several SCHTF members (David Pable, Johanna Haynes, etc) who met with the ONAP Director in Washington, DC, followed up with a synopsis of the meeting they had. Unfortunately, this meeting wasn't as good as everyone could have hoped. Our members were left thinking there hadn't been enough time for audience participation, especially for the expense of attending this meeting. They felt there was a missed opportunity for people at the front of the room to hear from the people in the back of the room.
 
However, everyone agreed that, between the Listening Session held in Columbia and this follow-up meeting in DC, a door had been opened for the SCHTF. Mr. Brooks, the ONAP Director, has now had quite a bit of contact with SCHTF and its members, which gives us an excellent opportunity to have our voice heard on the national level.
 
In the discussion following the synopsis, it was suggested that the SCHTF should reach out and invite Mr. Brooks to visit SC again. With the upcoming STD/HIV/VH Conference in October, there was talk of talking to Susan Fulmer and Tony Price at DHEC to see if the SCHTF could arrange for Mr. Brooks to perhaps be a plenary or breakfast session speaker.

   
AIDS United Update:
Gwen also spoke about the AIDS United (our main funder) annual Southern REACH Convening. This yearly event (held this year in Raleigh, NC) gathers representatives of all AU grantees located in the Southern states for further educational opportunities and networking with other agencies throughout the South. Representing the task Force at this event will be Johanna Haynes, Executive Director of Careteam Inc and secretary for the Task Force, and Maiava Blackwell, our Administrative Assistant.
Communications Update:
M
ichael Bivens, our Communications Chair, had quite a bit of good news for us about our social media usage, and future plans and events.

Social Media Usage:
Our Facebook page is doing quite well. We have doubled the amount of posts/information that our members are sharing and our "likes" continue to grow. If you use Facebook, please remember to "like" our page, post articles and comments about any of our Talking Points or the HIV epidemic, and share posts from out page to your network of family and friends.
People from outside SC, who are also interested in advocating for Medicaid Expansion, have interacted with our page and our Communications Chair. One person in particular posted several items about the ME issues with other states with an eye towards a national advocacy for  ME. Unfortunately, a post or two were very partisan. When it was explained that the Task Force is a non-partisan, non-political organization, our out-of-state poster was very polite about removing the political posts and not reposting anything that spoke for or against any political party or politician.

All in all, our Facebook page has had several interactions with folks from other states which are not expanding Medicaid. It's good to see that not only is the Task Force engaging allies at a local and state level; but that we are reaching out to national Legislators and organizations and like-minded agencies in other states.

   
Future Plans and Events:
There were three big announcements from our Communications Committee about the upcoming STD/HIV/VH Conference. Every October, the SC HIV Planning Council puts together a conference bringing together industry workers (health care workers and social workers) with PLWHA and people from other professions (teachers, social workers, health care advocates, etc) to further education about all things HIV- and STD- related.
   

1) As we have done the last few years, the Task Force will set up its information booth for the 2-day conference in the Exhibition Hall. We have been very pleased with the amount of information our booth has been able to give to conference attendees as well over 300 people each year were given information about the Task Force, ADAP funding, and the need for Medicaid Expansion.

2) Besides the information booth, for the second year in a row, the Task Force has been awarded with a session at the conference. As last year, Michael Bivens and Maiava Blackwell will be presenting to conference attendees explaining the history of the Task Force and our talking points on ADAP funding and Medicaid Expansion. Our hope is to reach out to those who don't know about the Task Force and to get them informed enough and energized enough to join us. If you know anyone going to the Conference who isn't part of the Task Force, make sure to suggest they attend our session.

 

3) The Task Force is very glad to have a new opportunity this year - to hold a session slot at the Pre-Conference Institute (PCI). This PCI will be a day-long event (held on the day before the main STD/HIV/VH Conference) geared solely towards People Living with HIV/AIDS. The Institute will be accepting up to 90 PLWH from across SC to hear from local DHEC and ADAP representatives, along with several afternoon sessions conducted by members of the Positive Advocacy Committee (PAC - the HPC equivalence to our Consumer Empowerment subcommittee).

The Task Force will be conducting a session at this event with two goals in mind:
1) to engage and recruit more PLWH to join our advocacy group; and
2) to offer some basic advocacy skills for consumers.

 

Legislative Strategy and Research Update

Bambi Gaddist, Chairing the Legislative Strategy and Research committee, continued a topic (with input supplied by ASO Executive Directors Gwen, Johanna and Anita) from our previous meeting by discussing the Governor's "Healthy Outcome Program"

First, some background information:
"South Carolina's Proviso 33.34 (A(1),C,D) Healthy Outcomes Plan (HOP) supports participating hospitals proposing service delivery models to coordinate care for chronically ill, uninsured, high utilizers of emergency department (ED) services."
https://msp.scdhhs.gov/proviso/site-page/healthy-outcomes-plan-0
 
The "Healthy Outcomes Plan" (HOP) was created by the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services as the Haley administration's alternative to Medicaid expansion. It is intended to target uninsured patients with chronic conditions, like HIV, who have used the emergency room at least five times. The idea of HOP is to get patients/consumers into a medical home where they can receive routine care and avoid the very costly ER services.

While HOP is designed to facilitate access to health care for 17 chronic conditions (HIV is one of these conditions); hospitals are allowed to pick and choose which conditions they will have in their HOP plan. The Task Force will need to find the data about which hospitals have HIV in their plans and which ones do not. With this information, the Task Force will be better able to advocate for more hospitals to serve patients with HIV. It was suggested that the Task Force contact Lynn Bailey (healthcare economist who has worked with the Task Force before) to find this information. It was also suggested that the Task Force contact Rep. Joe Neal (long-time SCHTF Legislature ally) to help determine what Legislators would need to know from the Task Force about HOP and our stance for or against it.

The state's Medicaid agency gave each of the hospitals (about 60) a target number of uninsured patients to help over the next year, ranging from 50 at some rural hospitals to 750 each at the state's two biggest hospitals (one in Greenville and one in Charleston). Hospitals will be paid for participation regardless of how many patients they enroll in HOP this fiscal year. Five months into the project, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville had not enrolled any patients, but will still be paid for simply developing a plan and meeting the minimum reporting requirements. Five other hospitals (including Hilton Head Hospital and Carolinas Hospital System in Florence) enrolled fewer than five patients from the start of the program in Oct 2013 until Mar 2014. Data provided by DHHS in March reported that only 3,028 patients (36% of the statewide target population) had been enrolled in HOP. That falls far short of the hundreds of thousands of residents who could have been aided by acceptance of the Medicaid Expansion program of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 
Gwen supplied the figures about how many PLWH HOP was serving from several hospitals:
Beauford: 7; Hilton Head: 3; Costal Carolina: 6

Beauford had served 7 of the 17 persons it was tasked to serve through HOP; Hilton Head: 29 out of 57; and Costal Carolina (the smallest of these 3 hospitals): 80 out of 73.

In total these hospitals only served about 190 patients out of the 100s of thousands who could have been served better through Medicaid Expansion.
 
Tony Keck, the Director of DHHS often suggests that simply supplying residents a Medicaid card does not actually put anyone into health care or improve their outcomes; but HOP doesn't do that either. Hospital staff is tasked with simply enrolling patients in the Healthy Outcomes Plan. While the plan is designed to then direct patients to other providers (including primary care practices and free clinics) where they care can be better managed at a lower cost, which is not always the outcome.

A major obstacle for people infected with HIV to receive access to health care through HOP may actually be the system of AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) in the state. Many people are tested, diagnosed, and treated through our ASOs and never present to the Emergency Department of any hospital. This means that hospitals which are receiving HOP money to care for HIV positive people are not caring for PLWH and are able to simply sit on those funds. Of course, these could be funds that an ASO needs to properly treat HIV+ individuals. Questions arose as to what the Task Force would expect HOP funds to be used for if we were actually able to get HOP funds diverted from the hospitals? In response, it was suggested that HOP funding could help the ASOs provide HIV education, housing assistance, mental health services, and behavioral change programs to PLWH.

As this discussion about the details of HOP continued, several members injected to ask whether HOP should even be a focus of our advocacy work. Obviously HOP is simply part of a plan of our current state government to provide some sort of healthcare relief to our citizens who have been denied access to Medicaid Expansion through the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The members who spoke up asked if our entire focus should not just remain on ME, as we have already developed a message along with gathering a broad coalition of agencies through the Accept ME SC group who support Medicaid Expansion with us. A worry voiced by members was that putting a "positive spin" onto HOP could derail the support needed for Medicaid Expansion. Questions arose as to what the Task Force would expect HOP funds to be used for if we were actually able to get HOP funds diverted from the hospitals? In response, it was suggested that HOP funding could help the ASOs provide HIV education, housing assistance, mental health services, and behavioral change programs to PLWH.

At the end of the discussion period, it was determined that what the Task Force needed was more information to craft our Talking Points on HOP. Our discussion has brought up a numbers of questions about the facts and figures of HOP. Several subcommittees (Legislative Strategy & Research, Access to Care, Access to Prevention and Consumer Empowerment) were tasked into an ad hoc committee to work on this topic.
 
Some of the questions to resolve were:
How can we benefit the hospitals with our detection/screening processes that identify HIV positive people? How many hospitals were tasked with serving PLWH/A in their HOP program? What benefit package could we offer hospitals to invest their HOP funding into HIV providers and safety-net providers? How many PLWH/A had HOP actually served? What kind of services (nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, screenings, HIV educations, and referrals) can our agencies provide PLWH if there was access to HOP funds?
 
Other members spoke about the use of quantitative vs. qualitative evidence. As we have seen with our ADAP funding and Medicaid Expansion acceptance advocacy, you certainly need facts and "numbers" about the scope of the problem; but you also need the personal stories of the people affected. Members of the Task Force who are HIV positive have made a huge difference by speaking for themselves to many Legislators through the years at SCHTF-supported advocacy events. The Consumer Empowerment Chair was asked to gather stories from members, relating to access to healthcare issues that HOP funding might be able to address, to be used by the ad hoc committee in crafting Talking Points about HOP.
 
For more information about HOP, you can read more from the Post and Courier ("Success varies across S.C. in enrolling uninsured patients in Medicaid expansion alternative") out of Charleston, or the Augusta Chronicle ("SC Launcing 'healthy outcomes' initiative: Goal is to help residents live healthier lives") in Georgia. A very important PDF document about Proviso 33.34 is offered by SC DHHS (this is a must-read to understand the HOP initiative.

Access to Care Update:
As was mentioned previously on the website, our "Access to Care" Chair Ashley Redmon is no longer with us. We're very proud that Ashley accepted a position within Roper St. Francis as the Executive Director of the Foundation. While we were very sad to see Ashley, there is work for the Task Force to do, so we held a vote to replace her position with us.
 
 
We are happy to announce that Tricia Phaup from the USC Immunology Center is the new Chair for our "Access to Care" subcommittee. (That's Tricia in the back row (at the left) at today's meeting) We offer our thanks to Tricia for stepping up to help further the goals of the Task Force. If YOU would like to join with Tricia as part of the "Access to Care" subcommittee please speak with her at our next meeting.
 

Consumer Empowerment Update:

Today's meeting was very busy with another change in the line up of our Executive Committee. David Pable resigned as the Chair to the Consumer Empowerment Committee. We all know what's it like to be stretched too thin and can certainly understand how David wanted to use his time better. David continues with the HIV Planning Council (HPC) as Chair for the Needs Assessment Committee and as the vice-chair of the Positive Advocacy Committee (the consumer group at the HPC).

After some discussion about nominees and a very hasty election taken during lunch, a new Chair was chosen.

 
We are happy to announce that David Alexander is the new Chair of the Consumer Empowerment Subcommittee. With over 15,000 PLWH (People Living With HIV) in South Carolina, the Consumer Empowerment Committee can be very influential is dealing with the epidemic in SC. If you would like to join with David and the other HIV+ advocates in the state, please speak with him at our next meeting.
Moving forward without further discussion, the Consumer Election Group (the PLWH who were present at this meeting) chose to create a new position of Vice Chair for their committee.

After the election, the Consumer Empowerment Subcommittee proudly announced that Stacy Massard was chosen to assist David Alexander in guiding the group forward in their work. Congratulations to David and Stacey who are both passionate and thoughtful advocates.
 

Stakeholders Update:

Kevin Johnson, the Chair of the Stakeholders Subcommittee, spoke to us about how even with our closest allies, we need to stay in touch and involved with their organizations. Recently our contacts/liaisons with Planned Parenthood, Sloan Whelan, has moved on to another position and Ryan Wilson, with SC Equality, has moved to a new position with HRC. As we should always be looking for new stakeholders (people and organizations with the same goals as the Task Force) to join us, we also need to be looking at the allies we have for changes that occur within those organizations.

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