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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.
Action Calendar

Visit the Events page to review complete information about all current and upcoming events.
Up-to-Date Documents
Right click any of these links and "Save As" to download these documents
 
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!

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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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SC Premiere 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 premiere of the movie "Wilhemenia's War" by June Cross. 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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Summer Meeting 7/29/14
 
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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Congratulations to one of our Executive Committee Members 7/04/14
As of 8/11/14, our "Access to Care" Chair Ashley Redmon will no longer be the Director of the Ryan White Program at Roper St. Francis. She has accepted a position within Roper St. Francis as the Executive Director of the Foundation. While we are very sad to see Ashley leave us, especially with her passion for working in the HIV field, we couldn't be happier for Ashley earning this wonderful opportunity. Ashley's new role will comprise fundraising, grant acquisition and donor cultivation for Roper St. Francis healthcare.
 
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Office of the National AIDS Policy
White House Listening Tour
4/19/14
As we all know the HIV epidemic in the South is no where near a point of talking about the "end of AIDS". Instead here in South Carolina and other Southern states we see that the rate of the epidemic is rising and has yet to peak. President Obama has been the first POTUS to craft a National AIDS Policy, so we were very fortunate to attend a session with the new Director from the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) during his Regional Listening Tour.
 
Professor Danielle Holley-Walker from theUniversity of South Carolina School of Law opened the meeting by introducing our two guest speakers:

Douglas Brooks
The Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)

Dr. Wayne Duffus
Medical Director for the SC DHEC STD/HIV Division and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Pharmacy.
 
Our Speakers for the Evening
 
Dr. Duffus began by speaking facts, stats, and the truth of the HIV epidemic in the South. African American are 8 times more likely to become infected. MSM are nearly 40 times more likely to become infected. Sadly, 36% of those who have been diagnosed HIV positive are not in care! Clearly if we can change things to get those people into care, we could help drastically reduce the infection rate, have healthier HIV+ people and reduce the amount of death from AIDS.
 
As the epidemic has rolled through the South, several conclusions have been demonstrated More education and higher income directly lead to longer life. People who are better educated can get jobs that pay enough to get access to health care which results in better health and longer life. It's also been shown that a person's race (whether black or white) has no bearing on longevity with HIV. What affects a person's health is nothing more than have quality health care.
 
Sex 2012 SC
population
PLWHA HIV/AIDS Diagnosis
  No. % No. % No. %
Male 2,297,213 49% 10,707 70% 1,115 77%
Female 2,426,510 51% 4,587 30% 340 23%
Total
4,723,723 15,294 1,455
Race &
Gender
2012 SC
population
PLWHA HIV/AIDS Diagnosis
  No. % No. % No. %
Black Males 622,847 13% 7253 47% 799 55%
Black Female 704,914 15% 3,716 24% 267 18%
White Males 1,493,587 32% 2931 19% 236 16%
White Females 1,560,788 33% 709 5% 58 4%
Hispanic Males 137,349 3% 406 3% 62 4%
Hispanic Females 112,363 2% 113 1% 20 1%
 
 
   
Several members of the audience were able to speak during an unfortunately short "listening" period. A visitor from Asheville (seen at the left) spoke to the need of needle exchange; while a private doctor discussed wanting to know more so that she was a better practitioner of medicine. Another visitor from Asheville talked about the stigma an HIV+ person deals with every day; while a South Carolinian discussed how disclosing and giving a testimonial about your own triumph over HIV helps to reduce societal stigma.
 
The next person to speak incorrectly said that we weren't in the epicenter of the epidemic. While that was true in the early years, right now SC has the 8th highest rate of HIV in America and Columbia is the American city with the 6th highest rate. Clearly, here in 2014, we really are in the epicenter of this epidemic and need the resources to fight this battle.
 
Speaking of resources, he last speaker at the mic, Lane from Catawba Care, got right down to one of the most important part of gaining access to health care - the funding. Lane wanted to know if, with the unknown changes coming in the future to the Ryan White program, would there be funding to keep HIV clinics open. With funding changes already leading many specialized ASOs into becoming community health clinics, it is imperative for us to use our advocacy efforts to make sure ASOs and clinics are probably funded to deliver quality health care to People Living with HIV.
 
 
Mr. Brooks, the Director of ONAP, took the podium and continued many of discussion points brought up during the session to that point. Mr. Brooks spoke about the rising amount of African American HIV infections (especially young MSM) and the stigmas which stop someone from attending an HIV clinic.
 
Mr. Brooks continued with a discussion about PrEP as another tool in the arsenal in our fight against HIV. While it's easy to understand why the negative partner in a sero-discordant couple should use PrEP or others who put themselves in high risk situations, Mr. Brooks spoke about another group of people who could benefit from PrEP - women in violent relationships. These women, who have no control in some areas of their lives, could at least have prevention if they were exposed to HIV. He went to to discuss the dirty details of PrEP from how to pay for the medication to ensuring that doctors were properly trained about PrEP and were prescribing it.
 
After the main two speakers, we were treated to a panel of people from around the state.
 
Representative Joe Neal, longtime friend and ally of the Task Force, discussed the importance of voting. The best way to influence the policies of the government of South Carolina is to make sure we educate politicians with our talking points, and then make sure that citizens turn out to vote for those politicians.
 
Dr. Helmut Albrecht spoke about the loss of jobs and the loss of funding by SC not accepting Medicaid Expansion. Dr. Michelle Rojas talked about the education and training needed in various specialties to treat PLWH as they age, along with reiterating Mr. Brooks' point that GPs need to be educated about prescribing PrEP.
 
Our very own Gwen Bampfield discussed how funding and resources are needed for grassroots agencies to advocate, educate, and teach prevention. She also talked about the need for funding to provide all other needed services than just medical services. Studies have shown for some time that ensuring people have housing and food greatly influences their ability to remain adherent to their antiretrovirals.
 
The remaining two panelists, Brandon Allen and Roland Gardner, spoke about funding and stigma issues preventing people in South Carolina from requesting and/or receiving quality health care.
 
A few more audience members came to the mic to close out the evening. Our previous Chair, Johanna Haynes, worried that PLWH would be losing the expertise of HIV care if funding forced them to be treated by GPs at health clinics. This sentiment was echoed by a representative of Western NC AIDS Project who was also worried about ASO funding. Another speaker spoke about religious stigma in our area and pondered whether the CDC could produce a "faith based" HIV education program. The final audience member at the mic talked about the high co-pay he, and many others, paid. He was very worried about being able to continue having access to daily HIV meds.
 
Thanks, once again, to David Alexander
for supplying some of these photographs
from the meeting.
 
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Everything is NEW! 4/23/14
Everything is NEW this meeting! Well, not everything. Our mission is certainly still the same and we still have the same great talent and dedication our members have always brought to the group; but we are starting out a NEW grant cycle and we have a lot of NEW changes.
 
One of the first changes we brought to the Task Force was a NEW venue. While we have appreciated Ms. Gibson's assistance and the space at the Cecil Tillis Center, we all know we were having issues with how our meetings were being held. So we've moved over to the Brookland Baptist Church Administration Bldg (1066 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29169 google map). We're hoping now we have the right venue and won't be crammed into a too-small room or have to compete with another speaker just on the other side of the room.
 
Our NEW Chair, Gwen Bampfield, from our NEW fiscal agent Access Network, opened up the meeting with an overview of the NEW deliveries in the NEW grant cycle with our old friends at AIDS United.Of course, we'd like to take a moment to thank Gwen for her leadership and thank Access Network for taking on the chore of managing our money.
Our NEW Secretary, the previous Chair, Johanna Haynes, gave us the final report about the deliverables completed from our last AIDS United grant. Once again, many thanks to Johanna for her work leading us these past two years and to Careteam for being our previous fiscal agent.
Speaking of financial issues, our returning Treasurer, Anita Case, gave us the financial breakdown of the last grant. (available for download)
Communications Chair Michael Bivens took care of some other "housekeeping" issues for the Task Force. He talked about the great rise in our usage of Facebook as an interactive tool. Michael has increased posting about Medicaid Expansion, our town hall Events and plenty of other HIV treatment information, while our Task Force members have shared more events and posts, and responded to more posts than ever before.

Michael also reminded everyone to please RSVP for our meetings and events. Although we typically have 30-50 people, it's rare that we receive over a dozen RSVPs. Not knowing how many people will attend always makes it harder for Maiava to arrange enough seating and enough food for lunch. So please make sure, when our next meeting reminder email goes out, to please RSVP if you plan to attend.
Michael closed by introducing Maiava Blackwell (the administration assistant for the Task Force for over two years) who passed out NEW 2014 membership cards to those attending.
Speaking next, Dr. Bambi Gaddist, the chair of one of our "NEWer" subcommittees, the Research and Legislative Strategy Subcommittee*, brought a good deal of information to the Task Force about the Governor's NEW "Healthy Outcome Program" (HOP https://msp.scdhhs.gov/proviso/site-page/healthy-outcomes-plan-0).

After our Legislators rejected the Medicaid Expansion portion of the federal Affordable Care Act, Governor Haley tasked Tony Keck, the Director of SC Health and Human Services Dept. (SCDHHS), with developing a plan to assist the citizens who fall into the gap between not being financially able to afford insurance and yet earning enough to not be financially eligible for Medicaid.
 

The state has earmarked $45 million dollars to fund this program and bases the disbursement of these funds on a per capita basis. In essence, this money will replace what the hospitals used to receive in Disproportionate Share. (The United States government provides funding to hospitals that treat indigent patients through the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) programs). The Healthy Outcomes Program is designed so our SC hospitals will use this money to coordinate care for chronically ill, uninsured, high utilizers of emergency department (ED) services. Currently, the Greenville area has contacted all of its frequent ED users; and more rural hospitals are currently meeting more of their HOP goals.

 
Several members of the Task Force (Gwen, Johanna, Kevin, Maiava, David and others) were able to attend a private meeting with Mr. Keck to discuss Task Force advocacy issues (like Medicaid Expansion) along with the state alternative (HOP). To advocate for quality care for PLWH (People Living with HIV), the Task Force will need to determine how best we can cooperate with SCDHHS and the hospitals to make sure money is diverted to ASOs (AIDS Service Organizations) across the state. These agencies (many which are part of the Task Force) are already in place taking care of chronically ill and uninsured PLWH and these agencies know best how to use these financial resources.
 
The Research and Legislative Strategy Subcommittee* will continue to monitor HOP, and by attending some of their meetings, determine how the Task Force will need to advocate for funding and access to healthcare. Please contact Bambi Gaddist to join this subcommittee (especially if you have contacts within hospitals receiving HOP funding or if you can attend HOP meetings to make reports back to the Task Force).
 
(*The Research and Legislative Strategy Subcommittee is actually a combination of our old Policy and Research committee and the Legislative Strategy committee. At our Strategic Planning Session in the summer of 2013, it was determined the work of these two committees overlapped and the committees would be better served to be a unified group.)
 
One of our NEW Executive Committee Members, Ashley Redmon, spoke about the NEW "Access to Care" Subcommittee. Reminding us of the good work we have done educating our Legislators, Ashley pointed out that we are halfway through the period that the Legislators funded ADAP. The SC 2012-2013 Budget included $4.1 million dollars recurring for 4 years. In that same budget, and the budget for the following fiscal year of 2013-2014, our Legislators included an additional $1 million dollars.

Looking forward to the end of the 2015-2016 NEW budget and the advocacy work we will need to do for ADAP, Ashley suggested that the Task Force needs to re-evaluate our Talking Point sheet (SC ADAP Fact Sheet) and update it to reflect the current and future needs. To assist in the work of the "Access to Care" subcommittee, please contact Ashley Redmon.
 
Another of our NEW Executive Committee Members, Jim Manning, spoke about the NEW "Access to Prevention" Subcommittee. While dressed in denim (in recognition of "Sexual Assault Awareness Day"), Jim spoke to the way many of our issues and goals are in the line with the goals and issues of other agencies. Domestic Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, inequality in services and in health care - all these issues and more cross paths with our HIV prevention, education, and treatment advocacy. Looking to expand our relationships with other prevention groups, if you know of prevention groups who would like to join us or prevention methods that the Task Force could support, please contact Jim Manning to join the "Access to Prevention" subcommittee.
 
David Pable, Consumer Subcommittee Chair, took up Jim Manning's point of the importance of voting by turning the phrase that "voting is prevention". Although the Task Force is non-political, we do advocate for rights and health care access in a political climate. We believe that all citizens should be registered to vote and should then fulfill their responsible to vote. The Consumer Subcommittee will be working to guide in Task Force in how to best incorporate Voter Registration into our events and activities.
 
Following up on the report from the Research and Legislative Strategy subcommittee, Kevin Johnson,(the chair of the Stakeholders Committee) reported on the efforts of the Task Force to reach out to other agencies by discussing our relationship to the SC Hospital Association and the hospitals receiving HOP funding. To better advocate, the Task Force will need to create and ensure strong ties to the SCHA, the member organizations of Accept ME SC, and any HOP groups and officials in charge of that program. If you would like to help the Task Force extend these ties, please contact Kevin Johnson to join this subcommittee.
 
Our NEW Vice-Chair Veronica Brisco (second from right), along with Elizabeth McLendon (second from left), brought today's guest speaker, Timothy Boyd (first on left) from AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
 
We had special Guest Speaker Timothy Boyd from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) address us at today's meeting. Mr. Boyd spoke about HR 4260, the "Ryan White Patient Equity and Choice Act". While the Task Force is constrained to NOT advocate for specific legislation (because that would be lobbying, which is not allowed by our funder AIDS United), having information about any laws or bills which affect HIV care in our state is always important to know.

According to Timothy, this bill is not a reauthorization of the Ryan White Fund; but this bill seeks a better redistribution of funds. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, more of the funding went to the metropolitan areas that were first affected due to the great need. However as medications have turned the situation in the HIV epidemic, we see that different areas are now being affected and are not receiving adequate funding. While 50% of all new infections are now happening in the Southern States, the South receives much less than 50% of prevention and treatment dollars.
 
HR 4260 is designed to improve several key areas of Ryan White (RW) health care services:
1. Care Continuum Services
  a) redefines some services and includes STD testing
b) all RW recipients should have an identifiable medical home
2. Funding Equity
  a) funds go where the epidemic goes
b) variance by no more than 5%
c) resources for medical care
d) resources for transportation
3. Patient Choice and Adherence
  a) inclusion of specialty pharmacies
b) mail order pharmacy service is available
c) New Part F pilot project - $5 million to establish a model of Patient Savings Accounts under Ryan White
 
Tim gave us several handouts with his presentation, including a copy of the bill and a write-up about the background on the bill; a breakdown of 2012 Ryan White spending per PLWH by state; and a copy of the federal sign-on letter, along with resolutions from the cities of Columbia and West Columbia supporting the bill.
 
To reiterate, the Task Force is in no way lobbying for HR4260
 
 
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Changing the Guard and Saving the Dates 4/19/14
Now that our Medcaid Expansion Forums were completed in March, we want to extend a hearty "Thank You" to our outgoing Chair Johanna Haynes. From 2012 to 2014, Johanna led us through seven forums, five advocacy events, and a Strategic Planning Retreat that determined the Task Force should continue to grow and become it's own non-profit organization. Following in the footsteps of Bambi Gaddist's leadership of the Task Force, Johanna guided the Task Force forward very well.
Welcome Incoming Chair
Gwen Bampfield
Access Network
Thank you Outgoing Chair
Johanna Haynes
Careteam
We welcome our new Incoming Chair, Gwen Bampfield, who is already showing great leadership beginning the work of moving the Task Force forward into non-profit status. However, don't think that will be the only job our new leader is doing. Gwen has already led the Executive Committee in determining upcoming meeting dates, planning for our first meeting under her leadership and recruiting guest speakers while starting the tasks of our deliverables for our 2014 grant from AIDS United.
 
Please save the date (and invite a guest!) to our next meeting on APRIL 23, 2014. Also make a note that we will be in a NEW location over at Brookland Baptist Church (Administration Building) (1066 Sunset Blvd, West Columbia, SC 29169 http://goo.gl/maps/uDo8f).
 
Because we will have a guest speaker for this meeting, please schedule this event from 10am - 1pm. We will be serving lunch, so please RSVP to let us know that you will be attending. You can RSVP by sending an email to communications@schtf.com or by using our response form.
 
The Task Force has normally met on Tuesdays, so you might be concerned that this April 23rd meeting will be on a Wednesday; but don't despair. The rest of our meetings through this fiscal year ( 4/14 - 2/15) will go back to Tuesdays. These upcoming meetings will be on: July 22, September 9, December 9, and January 20, 2015. (All Tuesdays) Please mark your calendar with these dates so that you don't miss out on any of our advocacy work this year.
 
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Town Hall Forums - Charleston and Columbia 3/19 & 3/20 2014
As we did a year ago around the state, the Task Force once again hosted several Medicaid Expansion Town Hall Forums. This year we selected Columbia and Charleston because of the influential people, Legislators, and need for public education in both these cities. We originally scheduled these two events in February; but we had to reschedule due to the snow and ice storms that caused so much trouble across the state.
 
CHARLESTON
On March 19 in the Irene Dixon auditorium at Roper St. Francis Hospital,
the Task Force hosted it's Charleston forum.
 
Johanna Haynes (left), the outgoing Chair of the Task Force,
did an excellent job coordinating our efforts to produce these two events.
 
Ashley Redmon, incoming Chair for one of our new Access to Care subcommittee.

We would like to thank Ashley for making the arrangements with Roper St. Francis for the great event in Charleston.
 
Michael Luciano
winner of the 2013 SC STD/HIV Conference "Unsung Hero Award"
with our information table
 
 
Our panelists speaking to the audience about the
importance and impact of Medicaid Expansion in SC.
Representative for Community Engagement, SC Hospital Association
Robert Greenwald, Professor, Harvard Law School
Bill Settlemyer, founder Charleston Regional Business Journal

COLUMBIA
On March 20th in the Eau Claire Print Building,
the Task Force hosted it's Columbia Medicaid Expansion Town Hall forum.
 
Our Distinguished Panelists and Moderator
 
Frank Knapp
Co-Founder SC Small Business
Chamber of Commerce

Teresa Arnold
AARP South Carolina State Director
Monique William
ABC Reporter from WOLO-TV
Panel Moderator
Robert Greenwald
Professor, Harvard Law School

 Vince Ford
Palmetto Health Chief
Community Health Services Office
 
 
 
 
 
  Robert Greenwald in action!  
We can't thank the Harvard Law School and Robert Greenwald enough for their assistance. In the past Harvard has been together reports and fact sheets dealing with ADAP and Robert has now been an integral panelist/speaker at 7 forums and 5 training sessions in SC over the last 14 months.
 
Several members of the SCHTF Executive Committee
 
Jim Manning
incoming Chair for our new
Access to Prevention subcommittee

Johanna Haynes, Secretary
Anita Case, returning Treasurer

David Pable, Consumer Empowerment
 
Bambi Gaddist, Chair of the Research and Legislative Strategy subcommittee,
engages the panel and audience in the discussion about Medicaid Expansion
 
Gwen Bampfield (left), the incoming Chair of the Task Force
 
Kevin Johnson, Stakeholder Chair and Vivian Armstrong-Clark, prior Vice Chair
 
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Starting 2014 off with an Advocacy Day 1/14/14
Jan 14th Meeting Minutes
Consumer Empowerment Call Minutes
2013 Legislative Guide
(right click to save these Word Documents, click to view)

It was a great day in SC for the SC HIV Task Force! We started off the new year with a fully-loaded first meeting. We heard from all of our current Sub-Committee Chairs and some of the incoming Chairs (the new 2-yr term for the Executive Committee will begin in Feb. when our AIDS United grant renews); Guest Speakers presented material on ADAP and the ACA MarketPlace; and after lunch, a contingency of our members went to the Statehouse as part of an Advocacy Activity.
 
Our first meeting of the year (but the last meeting in our AU grant year)
was headed up by our Vice Chair, Vivian Armstrong.
MEETING
 
As you can see, we had a good sized crowd for today's meeting.
   
First up on the schedule was Treasurer Anita Case, who let us know there is still about $5k left in our budget for this grant year. We're right on track with our spending as we still have two forums (Charleston and Columbia) left in our deliverables.
 
You might not know this guy; but you do get emails from him!
 
Communications Chair Michael Bivens went through the documents we were going to be using for our Advocacy Activity.

Task Force Pamphlet
Medicaid Expansion Talking Points
ADAP Funding Thank You cards
Legislators Visit Log
 

 
Since we are in the process of combining our Legislative Strategy and Policy Research subcommittee, Bambi Gaddist and Gwen Bampfield (our new incoming Chair) spoke together about our advocacy efforts for the day and about our on-going project of becoming a stand-alone non-profit.
Sadly, we said goodbye to out-going Consumer Action Chair Zebedee Feaster. Zeb was unable to continue in that position and resigned.
As the Task Force finishes up one grant (with deliverables of two more Medicaid Expansion Forums) and moves into another grant (with the deliverable of regional consumer advocacy training), there is a lot of work the Consumer Subcommittee to do. The members of the subcommittee had met in the days before the meeting, voting to allow our consumer chair-elect to step up and take this chair position early so they can quickly move forward doing the important work of helping advertise for our upcoming forums.
   
Gladly then, we said hello to our new Consumer Empowerment Chair David Pable. David has already held one subcommittee meeting based on the sign-up sheet from out Sept. 2013 meeting. Already working hard, David will be getting more consumers involved with advertising about our upcoming Forums in Charleston and Columbia.
Any and all HIV positive Task Force members are encouraged to join the important Consumer Empowerment subcommittee. There is plenty to do before the forums and a lot to do in the next grant period as we reach out to train consumers on how to advocate with us - and for themselves.
   
Stakeholder Chair Kevin Johnson updated us on the work of his subcommittee. He presented a document from the subcommittee with a plan on approaching stakeholders to ask for a certain level of commitment in exchange for a certain amount of advocacy work we can do. Going forward as a non-profit, this plan is a good step towards the Task Force forging alliances using Memorandum of Agreement.
   
   
GUEST SPEAKERS
In our strategic planning sessions this summer, not only did we vote for quarterly meetings going forward; but we agreed to include Guest Speakers at each meeting. We were treated this meeting with not one but two Speakers. Roshan McDaniel (ADAP Director from DHEC) spoke to us about the state of the ADAP program.
   
Mary Jane Hardman (TA provider for DHEC) has been working with the Task Force for some time studying the various insurance plans available in SC within the Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. She spent some time, after her presentation, answering a wide range of questions from the audience.
 
We closed our meeting out with lunch and preparations to head to the State House for our Advocacy Activity.
   
The gang from Catawba Care
(York, Chester, Lancaster counties)
is busy signing Thank You cards
and putting together a list of
14 Legislators they can visit.
Dr. Gaddist getting materials ready
to thank her Legislators
and advocate for
ADAP and Medicaid Expansion.
Outgoing Consumer Chair
and Incoming Consumer Chair
coordinating on how best to get more
Consumer involvement.
Task Force members gather
Thank You cards, Medicaid Expansion Talking Point Sheets, announcement flyers for our upcoming Forums, Task Force Pamphlets,
and a list of their Legislators.
   
Incoming Chair, Gwen Bampfield, making a list and checking it twice to make sure she stops by the office of every Senator and Representative representing the area of SC where her Access Network consumers live.
   
ADVOCACY ACTIVITY
"Thanking Legislator for ADAP Funding"
 
After lunch, Task Force members went over to the State House where the "Enough is Enough" Medicaid Expansion Rally was beginning. Although the morning had been very cloudy, windy and rainy, the skies cleared up just it time for many of our friends and neighbors to join together advocating for the full acceptance of the ACA.
   
Looking from the back of the State House, over the crowd, with Representative office building on the left while Senate offices are in the building to the right.
Maiava Blackwell, the talented Administrative Assistant for the Task Force, working the crowd distributing flyers about the upcoming forums.
We asked Maiava to tell us her thoughts about the rally and our advocacy event.
"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" was the rallying cry as the "Truthful Tuesday Coalition" descended upon the South Carolina Statehouse to demand full implementation of the Affordable Care Act to include Medicaid Expansion. Members of the faith community, advocacy organizations, teachers, healthcare providers and concerned citizens called for accountability from our South Carolina legislators regarding healthcare, education and voting rights. Outside, despite the rain falling that morning; advocates for equality fulfilled their duty by coming together as a diverse body to celebrate their commonalities by sharing information and getting to know each other. Inside the Statehouse, SCHTF members thanked legislators for their support and expressed the ongoing needs of PLWH. SCHTF members and all organizations that are concerned about the plight of South Carolina’s neediest citizens are invited to be participants in upcoming events to continue the rallying cry of "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"!
- contributed by Maiava Blackwell
 
Once again, we want to thank David Alexander (lft) for the great pictures posted here.
 
SCHTF members representing the state from the top (Rock Hill/Fort Mill) to the bottom (Charleston/Moncks Corner) The gang from Charleston ready to speak with their Legislators and to represent the needs of HIV positive people throughout SC.
 
While some members remained at the rally, passing out flyers about the Forums,
other groups went inside to speak with Legislators and visit their offices.
 
Longtime Advocates and Task Force Members
(Elizabeth McClendon (AHF rep), Kevin Johnson (Stakeholder Chair)
Bambi Gaddist (Policy & Research Chair), Vivian Clark-Armstrong (outgoing Vice Chair) )

made sure our voice was heard today!
 
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2014-2016 Strategic Planning Retreat 7/25/13
Minutes
Survey Questionnaire Survey Summary
Prevention Agenda Process/Operations Agenda
 All these files in a ZIP (RetreatDocuments.zip) folder
  
Beginning the first day of our Strategic Planning Retreat, we started with a full house. Nearly everyone who was a paid member and had attended over half of our meetings over the last year was able to attend this important strategy session. There was a great selection of people representing agencies and consumers from across the state.
   
   
Chairperson Johanna Haynes opened up the session by thanking everyone for attending and introducing our Facilitator Ben Ellington.
Ben Ellington, who had facilitated for the Task Force in the past, spoke about where the Task Force had been at the last Planning session in 2011, what goals the Task Force had set, and how the Task Force was accomplishing those goals.
Ben took a portion of the morning session to review the data and comments gleaned from the completed surveys that had been received. (You can view the survey here, though we are no longer accepting submissions from this survey.
You can read the summary of answers and comments that Ben received and collated from the surveys our members completed and sent in to Ben.
 
After discussions on the survey were completed, a conclusion was reached that there were two important issues we needed to tackle. Clearly one issue was that members wanted to push forward with more Prevention Efforts. The other issue consisted of  process and operations - specially the operations of the Task Force itself and a process for gaining a larger membership base.
 
Our attendees split into two ad hoc groups to discuss the issues and develop some ideas on how to tackle these issues. Each team took time to discuss their issue and brainstorm ideas. After a break, the groups can back together and created a list of actions/projects the Task Force should do to fulfill the tasks derived from their discussion session.
 
So let's take a look at what the Prevention Team and Process/Operations team put together
as actions and projects for the Task Force to handle as we move forward.

Prevention Committee Discussion Summary
Click here to download the complete Prevention Agenda
(including the Discussion and Conclusions) in a Word document

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
 
   
a) WHAT - The goals of our prevention projects should be:
  1) Primary Prevention - prevent initial infections
  2) Secondary Prevention - help PLWH use risk reduction for safer sex

b) HOW - To accomplish our goals, we need, local level involvement, to address cost effectiveness of prevention, to align with national strategy

c) WHO - The people we need to involve to accomplish our prevention goals: citizens from neighborhood festivals and health fairs, domestic violence groups, insurance companies, faith based organizations, school health advisory committees, and elected officials
 
Prevention Agenda Conclusions
1) The Task Force needs to create flyers about voter registration opportunities, determining who your officials are and a Cost effectiveness talking point sheet to help with local level involvement.

2) Members should consider joining Health Advisory Councils to influence positive sexual health care which should include HIV and STD prevention education.

3) The Task Force should hold Prevention Presentations to groups within our networks.
 
Click here to download the complete Prevention Agenda,
including the full Discussion and Conclusions, in a Word document

Process/Operations Discussion
Click here to download the complete Process/Operations Agenda
(including the Discussion and Conclusions) in a Word document
 
   
1) The Task Force should video record of events and meetings, and use youtube, live streaming or podcast to post these videos. We should also create webinars to further advocacy education.

2) Conduct a Survey of Executive Directors to learn about their limitations and strengths for bringing consumers to the table, providing transportation, hosting events, and connections with legislators.

3) Conduct a Consumer Survey to identify advocacy abilities and needs, and the level of participation by consumers.
 
4) Quarterly rather than Monthly meetings
The group discussed how the problem of too many meetings that weren't determined productive. The option was put forth to only have quarterly meetings, comprising of a meeting with a special speaker, some advocacy training, followed by an actual advocacy event. While this would make the timeframe of our meetings/activities longer, it would maximize the time our members were outside Columbia were in town. This plan would give us the same amount of advocacy events as we have been having, and allow for several opportunities throughout the year for extra advocacy events - with fewer time away from our jobs and less travel expense and time. To not lose momentum with members between meetings we will have updates and advocacy training or Prevention presentations.

5) Regional Consumer Advocacy Training - develop a plan and a program to take our mission and message "on the road" to PLWH/consumers throughout the state. If we can't get people to come to us to learn about advocacy and to join us, then we should go to them with a program to teach advocacy to create an empowered group of PLWHs who want to join with the Task Force.

6) Our information board needs to be at more events promoting the Task Force

7) More training on advocacy versus training would help us all in our advocacy work. There will be more information available in a session at the upcoming AU convening in early September. Several members of the Executive Committee will be attending and returning to share this information with the membership.

8) Medicaid Expansion/ACA/Exchanges Forums
we discussed holding another round of forums across the state

9) Since our most vocal champions in the Legislature, Joe Neal, won't always be a representative for us (everyone retires at some point), we must begin to cultivate a relationship with other Legislators. We need to keep the silent support we have, while making new vocal champions in the legislature.
   
Process/Operations Conclusions:
1) Create an ED survey
2) Create a Consumer Survey
3) Set up for Quarterly meetings
4) Sponsor and hold Regional consumer advocacy training sessions and Prevention Presentations
 
Extra Notes from Both Groups on Day One:
1) Share voter registration. Voting now requires a Photo ID. A person can vote as long as they are not on parole or incarcerated. It only costs $10 for a state ID. Voter information is available at scvoters.org.
 
2) Target emails to Executive Directors (ED) vs consumers; perhaps send informational emails to EDs and create a newsletter geared to consumers
 
3) Perhaps set up memberships for 2 yr period with a set renewal date. If all memberships were due at same time, memberships could be prorated for later application times, allowing for an annual membership drive. (could this drive coincide with voter registration drive ?)
 
Process/Operations Discussion
Click here to download the complete Process/Operations Agenda
(including the Discussion and Conclusions) in a Word document

This update has been brought to you by Michael Bivens, our Communications Chair, who was assisting in compiling all this information by our Liaison/Administrative Assistant Maiava Blackwell (to Michael's left in this picture), with pictures provided by David Alexander (to the left of Maiava, way back there in the back of the room)
   
Several of our out-of-town members had an interesting night at the Clarion. The force of the Full Moon must have been at work, when around midnight a cabbie began firing shots at a Clarion guest he thought was leaving the cab without paying the fee. Of course, this guest was NOT one of our members, and thankfully no one, especially our members, were hurt that night.
 
Day Two:
Our second day of planning started by looking at our "Terms of Reference". This document was created several years ago and has been edited with each planning session to reflect our goals and objectives. We began by simply considering our name and mission statement.
   
Within moments, the group had unanimously decided that our current name, the "South Carolina HIV Task Force", was simply too bulky, too difficult to say, and too hard to remember. Noting that many groups and agencies were no longer using the words "AIDS" (as the meds have so dramatically helped to reduce that situation) but were using just the all-encompassing "HIV", we too dropped "AIDS" from out name. Next came a discussion about the words "Care Crisis". Although there seems to always be a crisis of care in South Carolina, without having an ADAP waiting list currently, we decided we didn't need those words right now. In the end we were left with the words "South Carolina HIV Task Force" (or SCHTF instead of SCHTF)
   
Next we tackled the mission statement. It was pointed out that our current statement was too long; and rather than pro-active, it was reactive.
Little by little we worked on
re-wording the mission statement.
   
   
You can see that everyone has on their "thinking caps" for today's session
 
 
After much thought and discussion, the group reached finally had a statement that was a simple dynamic, positively-worded single sentence explaining our mission and our goals:
 
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.
 
   
Notes on our work from Day Two:
1) Looking forward as ACA is implemented and more PLWH have insurance, the Task Force will needto change our advocacy concern. We will have to monitor that every one has access to insurance coverage; that PLWHs aren't adversely affected by discrimination ; and that coverage for care covers the needs of people living with HIV
 
2) The Task Force will need to engage those agencies, like community health centers, that willing be getting the resources.
 
3) Our members should look towards becoming part of school health advisory committees. This will allow our members to advocate for prevention and proper sexual health care education.
 
4) When the "Terms of Reference" is updated, there needs to be a better definition of the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Committee and General Members; along with time lines for the work of the sub-committees.
 
5) Re-organize as a 501(3)c to sustain funding and viability
One other topic took up quite a bit of our time; but the discussion was needed as it went to the heart of our operations. Quite simply, we talked about the future. The discussion began with questioning one of the goals in our "Terms of Reference" dealing with influencing policy.
 
As you know advocacy is promoting a cause in an attempt to shape public opinion, support or recommendation for a cause or policy; while lobbying is directly supporting specific decisions and bills made by officials in the government. So while the Task Force supporting, promoting and educating about ADAP and Medicaid Expansion is advocacy; promoting a specific bill or party would be lobbying. It was put forth then that for the Task Force to actually influence policy (craft a bill/legislation, request support of Legislator to promote this bill, and to advocate for the passage of this specific bill), we should consider the possibility of hiring our own lobbyist
 
As the discussion proceeded, various members talked about their experiences with non-profits and lobbying organizations. If we move forward in that direction, it's nearly guaranteed that we will have a lot of issues trying to raise funds - especially here in South Carolina for issues regarding  prevention of HIV and care for those infected with HIV. However, we might find that it's easier for the Task Force to sustain it's viability and status by simply becoming our own non-profit, without relying on any ASO to be our fiduciary agent.
 
Regardless of what we decide - continuing as an all volunteer organization with a fiduciary agent, or as our own non-profit agency, or as non-profit with lobbying abilities - it's obvious we need to study the options and give them all consideration. It goes without saying that we'll be discussing this issue in the days and months to come. In all likelihood, the Executive Committee will put together an ad hoc committee to study the options, interview other agencies like us (perhaps agencies like NCAN (NC Advocacy Network), and develop a plan on the steps of how we would change.
 
Of course, the Task Force is YOU, so we want your thoughts and feedback about this issue, and all the issues put onto the agenda at this Strategic Planning Retreat. Please make sure you attend our next general meeting on September 24th. Be ready to volunteer to support our Prevention Presentation agenda, and our Regional Consumer Advocacy Training programs
   
   
   
   
The members at the Strategic Planning Retreat put forth a great amount of work designed to improve the Task Force and strengthen our mission to improve the health care for People living with HIV in SC. As we heard before (from AIDS United and others), no other Southern state has an organization like our trying to coordinate and advocate for health care. The Chair and the entire Executive Committee would like to thank everyone who attended and for all your contributions to the goals of the Task Force.
 
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Special Community Events 3/25/13
Under the Affordable Care Act, states have been given the option to expand their Medicaid programs. Not only will this expansion bring more jobs to our state; but thousands of fellow citizens earning under 138% of the Federal Poverty Level will have access to health care.
 
Assisted by AIDS United, and supported by our partners in "Accept ME SC", the Task Force sponsored Press Conferences, Capacity Building Training classes, and Community Forums/Discussion Panel around the state to educate the people in SC about how expanding the Medicaid program will help our state and our neighbors. The Task Force held these events in Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Greenville and Charleston.
 
To learn more about each of these events, to see pictures,
or to download the information that was distributed, please visit
http://schtf.com/me4sc
(YouTube Videos coming soon from these events!)
 
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