In History: Medicare and Medicaid Celebrates the 55th Anniversary

On July 30, 1965, Medicare and Medicaid programs were establish when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the legislation them into law. This year marks the 55th anniversary of these important healthcare programs and they have continued to protect the health and well-being of millions of families, saving lives, and improving the economic security in the United States.

To learn more about Medicare and Medicaid in San Francisco follow this link: https://www.cms.gov/media/405741

Resources:

https://www.medicareresources.org/basic-medicare-information/brief-history-of-medicare/

Congratulations to SF HIV FOG for acceptance of their AIDS2020 Abstract

PRC would like to congratulation the San Francisco HIV Frontline Organizing Group (SF HIV FOG) for the acceptance of their AIDS2020 abstract: CREATING A PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY OF FRONTLINE WORKERS AS AN INNOVATIVE METHOD TO IMPROVE THE CARE OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS.

Below is the poster which was shown at the virtual AIDS2020 conference, July 6 thru 10.

What is PrEP?

Have you heard of PrEP and wondered what it stood for?

PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a daily HIV prevention pill for those who are HIV-negative and want to reduce their risk of exposure to HIV.  Research shows that, when taken consistently, PrEP provides protection from contracting HIV in a high percentage of individuals.

The California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS offers assistance to those without insurance to cover PrEP. You may be eligible to receive PrEP free of charge as part of the Patient Assistance Program, known as PrEP-AP.  The program provides assistance with PrEP-related medical costs and other medications for the prevention of HIV and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

PrEP-AP Eligibility:

  • California resident
  • At least 18 years old
  • Negative HIV/AIDS test result (dated within six months of the PrEP-AP application)
  • Annual Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) cannot exceed 500% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Medication expenses are not fully covered by Medi-Cal or other third-party payers
  • Enrolled in the manufacturer’s assistance program (if eligible)

If an individual is HIV+, the California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS has other programs to help pay for medication and health coverage related expenses:  AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP),  Health Insurance Premium Payment program (OA-HIPP),  Employer-Based Health Insurance Premium Payment (EB-HIPP), and Medicare Part D Premium Payment (MDPP) Assistance.

References and Resources:

PrEP Facts

Getting to Zero SF PrEP

And All That Pride…

Some things don’t have to change. We are who we are. Thank god.

While this pandemic will prevent us from marching down Market Street in colorful mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parades held in San Francisco and New York City, it does not prevent us from coming together to celebrate ourselves, our hard-fought achievements, our rampant creativity, and our strength in community.

(As published in  the San Francisco Bay Times, May 21, 2020)

On the contrary, it should inspire us to do so regardless – safely, of course, with smart adherence to in-person social distancing guidelines, and plenty of aplomb.

I have long admired my good friends Donna Sachet and Gary Virginia—the most dynamic of duos—giving, doing, organizing, giving, convening, inspiring, doing, (did I mention giving?), entertaining, celebrating, and bringing it over and over again in big and small ways to meet community needs. So, I am not surprised that they will outdo themselves again this year.  

Their legendary Pride Brunch—the event of the seasonwill go on, June 27th, and everyone is invited!  

Donna and Gary's Brunch ChallengeFrom the comfort of your living room, kitchen, or dining room, Gary and Donna will bring you the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade at high-noon on Saturday June 27th, honor the rich history of LGBTQ culture and liberation, and celebrate 50 years of San Francisco Pride with a saucy kitchen battle. The two will share their favorite brunch recipes and you will be the judge yourself, crowning the winner “Pride Brunch Queen.” 

We can sit back and relax with hosted cocktails and a delicious brunch delivered right to our respective doors. Or you can dance, parade, and sing along to live entertainment, live auctions, and special surprises in the privacy of your own home. This longstanding PRC fundraiser honors individuals and organizations fighting for LGBTQ equality, while raising critical dollars for PRC’s lifesaving services like legal advocacy, emergency financial assistance, residential treatment, and employment services. 

Celebrating 50 years of San Francisco community Pride, parading, and action, it is hard to believe how far the LGBTQ movement has come since the Stonewall riots eruptedawakening a new generation of legal and social advocacy. In retrospect, this turning point brings new lessons today amid this evolving era of worldwide COVID-19 public health emergency. We are all connected, and we are stronger when we stand together. 

As public consciousness is rising about that interconnectedness and our Country’s glaring health, income and access inequities, I am proud of San Francisco, our LGBT and allied communities. We’re on the frontlines, showing up for the most vulnerable again and again. And while there is still plenty of work to doI look forward to celebrating the contributions and opportunities brought by this year’s Grand Marshals—The LGBT Asylum Project, Founder of the Spahr Center Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, and Executive Director of the LGBT Historical Society Terry Beswick—at this year’s virtual Pride Brunch.  

PRC, Pride Brunch’s beneficiary, has long fought for the most disenfranchised and health-challenged in our community on the frontlines of HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ advocacy for access to basic and critical resources. Today, these efforts are even more important as the impact of longstanding fissures in health status and experiences by race, geography, income, and identity are laid bare by the novel coronavirus. PRC is providing emergency funds for rent, medication, and connectivity; legal advocacy to preserve healthcare and subsistence income through job loss and upheaval; and emotional support and employment services to keep people moving forward; while also sheltering nearly 300 adults in place through a substance use and mental health treatment continuum prioritizing health, safety, and wellness.  

As a 55-year old African American gay man, I am both deeply familiar with the disconnection between legal equality and lived equality and deeply indebted to the collective advocacy of so many courageous individuals who were willing to hold the line, never back down, and stand in harm’s way. So, let’s come together on June 27th and celebrate what’s good and great about San Francisco Pride.

Inspired again by Gary and Donna, I think the dire issues of the day will continue to galvanize us – a  Inspired again by Gary and Donna, I think the dire issues of the day will continue to galvanize us – a strongereven more compassionate community. I choose joy, love, honesty, empathy, compassion and service along with a hint of leather, lipstick, and humor. So, let’s brunch 

How could we not celebrate Pride’s 50th anniversary. I’m already planning my outfit. Don’t miss the Battle of the Queens, Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet’s legendary Pride Bruch, streaming live at 12pm on June 27th. Tickets are on sale, so get yours today, and prepare to give big. See you there. 

HIV Prevention Starts with Each of Us:Women and Girls Awareness Day and Let’s End the HIV Epidemic Together

Every year on March 10th,  the U.S. observes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

HIV prevention and treatment are critical to reducing new HIV cases among women and girls.  Women and girls – as well as their partners, friends, and family members who care about them – are encouraged to learn more about how they can take control of their own health to prevent and treat HIV.

HIV/AIDS is an equality opportunity virus. Any woman or girl who is sexually active can contract HIV/AIDS regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. However, statistics show that African American and Latinx women and girls have a higher chance of acquiring HIV than their counterparts. [Facts https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html]

There is great news! With today’s advancements in HIV/AIDS research and treatment it is possible to prevent HIV infection or passing the virus on to a partner or baby.  Some unique challenges women and girls face are related to STDs, which may increase the risk of HIV infection.

Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) is addressing the specific needs of women and girls who could be exposed to the virus or living with HIV.

Please take a minute to view this important message from Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

Follow these links to:

Learn more about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Find a local HIV testing or a healthcare provider, visit locator.HIV.gov.

Find out more about PrEP at HIV.gov/PrEP and see if you qualify for the Ready, Set, PrEP at GetYourPrEP.com

Together, we can stop HIV.

Computer Learning Center Expands Opportunity

Inside PRC’s buzzing 24-station Computer Learning Center, more than 100 people like Marilyn, Kim, and Sam are building digital literacy and skills to grow their income and workforce engagement.

“I’m so excited to move forward and into the workforce again.”

Outdated skills and gaps in employment can be hard to face, so PRC Workforce Development offers skill and community building opportunities that get people trained-up, confident, and back on their feet. Two accredited programs—Next Step Computer Training and Step Up Administrative Training—provide 64 combined hours of digital literacy and office skills readying people with mental and physical health disabilities for competitive internships and employment opportunities. Last year, PRC ran 20 cycles graduating 106 trainees!

“I have a better grasp on how this [technology] works…finally.”

The results speak for themselves. In 2019, employed graduates saw their annual incomes increase 337%.

People with disabilities experience three times the unemployment rate of the general population. But PRC is getting people into the workforce at more than double the statewide rate. When PRC opened the Integrated Service Center’s doors in April 2019, our computer lab’s capacity more than doubled, and the Workforce Development team began to ramp up classes, programs, and skill building opportunities. In less than one year, with the same high quality, high impact instruction, enrollment is up 30%.

“I can’t place a value on this experience. It was motivational, personally uplifting, and I learned so much in such a short time.”

Graduate
December Graduates: Marilyn (above); Kim (top), flanked by PRC volunteer Troy Kondo and Computer Training Associate (and former graduate) Tomas Llorence; and Sam (left).

PRC also launched LIFT UP SF – Lifting Up Peers for a Brighter Tomorrow – a 64-hour curriculum putting real life experience with mental health and substance use services to work for graduates as peer professionals across public health and social service fields. The first cohort just entered paid traineeships, the final step in advance of competitive employment placements at PRC and partner health agencies across San Francisco. The second cohort is double in size, with 15 students gaining competencies to put their lived experience to work advancing community health.

Graduate

For graduates like Phil (not pictured), opportunities like Next Step, Step Up, and LIFT UP SF are transformational. A longtime PRC client, Phil has overcome drug addiction and homelessness. Fifteen years ago, when he was newly diagnosed with HIV, Phil accessed PRC’s legal services to secure disability benefits. Most recently he’s moving forward with PRC workforce development. “I feel really good right now in my recovery; I’m mentally stable and poised to be able to go off of disability [benefits] and back into the workforce…But the highlight of [LIFT UP SF] is the overall realization that my life experience is worth something. I can connect with that person going down a certain pathhelp people who are drug addicted, homeless, and in health crisis to get from that place—from where I was stuck—to where I am now.”

“My objective is to find a place where I’m happy and a place to grow”

On top of skills-based training and practice in the lab, clients work with PRC specialists to accessed tailored supports in resume and cover letter writing, skills inventories, vocational assessments, interview preparation, and post-placement counseling. PRC partners with some of the largest employers in San Francisco including the University of California at San Francisco, the City and County of San Francisco, the State of California, Apple, Genentech, Target, H+R Block, Starbucks, Blue Apron, Hyatt, Genentech, Uber, Alaska Airlines, Salesforce, Apple, Old Navy, and Whole Foods. The average wage of clients placed in employment was $20.66 per hour in 2018, 38% higher than the local minimum wage.

Congratulations to all our participants and graduates! We’re proud to stand with you, moving forward.

Learn more about PRC’s Workforce Development trainings and services here or reach out about hiring partnerships and putting graduates to work for you.

Check out the new ADAP Client Portal!

On September 3, 2019, the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS released the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Client portal.

Using the portal, clients enrolled in ADAP can:

  • View their client ID, enrollment site, enrollment worker contact information, eligibility status, and eligibility end date
  • View the Insurance Assistance Program information if enrolled, including program type (OA-HIPP, EB-HIPP, or MDPP), insurance carrier, eligibility status, and eligibility end date
  • Elect to receive automatic notifications about eligibility and re-enrollment
  • Recertify if there are no changes to residency or health insurance and annual household income is within program limits

To request access to the Client Portal, contact the ADAP Call Center at 1-844-421-7050, Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. After requesting access, the client will receive an email with a URL to the client portal. Using the link, the client will enter their email address as the username and a temporary password, and then be prompted to create a new password. Contact the ADAP Call Center, with any issues accessing the Client Portal.

For more information about ADAP, go to California Department of Health Office of AIDS webpage.

If you are interested in ADAP and not yet enrolled, contact an ADAP Enrollment Worker to apply. To find an Enrollment Worker in your area, go to ADAP Enrollment Site Locator.

Lift UP SF: A win-win-win for San Francisco

We’re proud to introduce a new pathway to personal and economic growth for the thousands of people overcoming mental health, HIV or substance use challenges each year in San Francisco. One of five California programs selected, the Office of Statewide Health Planning will invest nearly $500,000 over two years in PRC’s award winning workforce development model. The result? We’re scaling up a peer-to-peer occupational training pathway recently launched in partnership with San Francisco’s Department of Public Health. Lifting Up Peers for a Brighter Tomorrow or Lift UP SF is a win for consumers, a win for behavioral health services providers, and a win for San Francisco.

Lift UP SF readies consumers—people in and exiting mental health and substance use treatment programs, family members, and caregivers—to put their lived experience to use on a competitive career path. It spans a 64-hour comprehensive training curriculum designed by advocates and consumers, individualized placement support, and peer group services to prepare graduates for volunteer, part-time, and full-time peer positions in the most common health settings: Social and Human Service Assistants, Case Workers, Case Managers, Client Advocates, Family Self-Sufficiency Specialists, and Independent Living Specialists among others.

Leveraging the experience of people with lived experience in mental health, substance use, and public health systems doesn’t just make sense, it’s proven to result in better outcomes for consumers on both sides of the interaction.

Beyond professional skill delivery, peer specialists in health settings share the same vocabulary as those they help, have credibility, and embody an accessible vision of success. Paid or volunteer employment is also a key component of recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, particularly methamphetamine addiction. The act of going to training, getting placed in employment, and accessing a supportive community support throughout this process dramatically improves an individual’s ability to maintain their recovery.

This pathway is timely, right here and right now. San Francisco has very low unemployment (1.9%) overall, but prosperity and stability are not shared equitably across our community. A high cost of living, driven primarily by housing expenses, strains many long-time residents and the populations PRC serves. African Americans and other communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, people with behavioral health disorders, and people living with HIV are overrepresented among the unemployed and have lower than average salaries, placing them at high risk for displacement and homelessness. People with lower incomes also have higher rates of mental health disorders.

It’s a circular argument Lift UP SF seeks to disrupt.

The training program specifically reaches into these under-employed consumer groups to provide more than a living wage. An increasing economic outlook seeds hope, and a career trajectory positions consumers—people like those exiting PRC’s 30/60/90 day treatment programs or in our co-op living around the city—to progress through the continuum of care and transition successfully to independent living.

As a result, not only do we expect to decrease unemployment among Bay Area residents impacted by mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or HIV/AIDS and to expedite treatment program exits making room for more people to access needed treatment services, Lift UP SF will develop a diverse, representative pool of qualified, culturally competent staff to help alleviate the worker shortage in behavioral health settings across San Francisco and beyond. PRC’s program launches with more than 17 partners—from Castro Country Club and the City of San Francisco Community Behavioral Health Services to Native American Health Center, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, and Alameda and Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Programs—already signed on and seeking to fill already identified peer staffing shortages across public mental health services.

Want to know more? Contact our Workforce Development team.
Want to contribute to support innovate solutions, like Lift UP SF? Donate here.
Keep Reading the Fall 2019 Frontline

PRC endorses U=U

SAN FRANCISCO (June 20, 2019) – PRC, whose nonprofit mission is to provide a variety of legal, social and health services to San Francisco residents affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues, has announced its official endorsement of the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.

Whether one is affected by HIV or is HIV negative, it is important to know and understand U=U.  The U=U campaign was born in New York City and has quickly spread across North America and the global community.

The stigma associated with HIV remains one of the greatest barriers for people in accessing HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and support. PRC’s endorsement of U=U sends a clear message that sharing the knowledge regarding U=U with our San Francisco community is an urgent priority to save lives and fight stigma, as well as is a call to take action to help spread the message.

U=U (Undectable equals Untransmittable) has unequivocally been supported by scientific evidence.  It shows that, when an individual is in HIV Treatment and maintains a suppressed viral load, there is effectively no risk of transmission to their partner during sex.

Through its partnership with Getting to Zero San Francisco, PRC is committed to preventing new HIV diagnoses and supporting people living with HIV to stay in treatment so they can live their best lives.

Continued support of campaigns like U=U is critical to ending HIV-related stigma. This will help us achieve the goals of preventing new diagnoses, reaching undiagnosed individuals, and ensuring that people living with HIV receive the care, treatment and support they need.

 

About PRC

PRC (formerly Positive Resource Center) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that helps people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues better realize the opportunities available to them. PRC provides integrated legal, social, and health services to address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness and limit potential. In 2017, the organization merged with AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), an emergency financial assistance provider for low-income residents living with HIV/AIDS, and Baker Places, an agency that provides a comprehensive array of residential treatment services to people with mental health, substance use, and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Combined, the three organizations represent a 115-year history of service and serve approximately 5,000 clients annually. For more information, please visit www.prcsf.org

SSI Recipients Can Now Receive CalFresh Benefits

Beginning in June 2019, California residents receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) who also receive a State Supplementary Payment (SSP) can get CalFresh benefits.

The SSP program was intended to replace the Food Stamp program (now known as CalFresh in California) for SSI beneficiaries when it was implemented in 1974. Over the years, the SSP benefit has remained relatively stable, while CalFresh benefits have increased to reflect inflation. Given the relative loss of value of SSP benefits, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1811 to allow SSI/SSP recipients also to receive CalFresh benefits.

This means more opportunities for SSI/SSP beneficiaries to purchase nutritious food

CalFresh is a free nutrition assistance program that enhances the food budgets of low-income individuals. Monthly CalFresh benefits range between $15 to $192 based on household size, income, and monthly expenses. SSI/SSP recipients can apply for CalFresh benefits to purchase food at vendors who accept EBT such as grocery stores, farmers markets participating in the Market Match, and restaurants participating in the Restaurant Meals Program (View Map). SSI/SSP beneficiaries who receive CalFresh will have no reduction to their SSI/SSP payment.

Assembly Bill 1811 also resulted in a monthly grant increase of $10 for recipients of the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) so that SSI/SSP benefits and CAPI benefits are equal. CAPI beneficiaries will remain eligible for CalFresh benefits.

Households already receiving CalFresh who had an excluded SSI beneficiary may receive an increase to their CalFresh benefits. However, this change will increase the overall income for some households as SSI/SSP income will no longer be excluded, which may cause a reduction in the monthly CalFresh grant. For those households who would experience a reduction in CalFresh Benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Benefit (SNB) and Transitional Nutrition Benefit (TNB) programs will provide additional benefits to avoid any reduction to overall nutrition benefits.

There are three ways to apply

Each applicant may need to provide proof of income, residency, and identity. HSA may be able to help with obtaining these required documents. Learn more about benefits and eligibility.

NOTE: Due to the high volume of new applicants, applicants may experience extended wait times at HSA service centers and by phone in June and July 2019. Consider applying online or call (415) 558-4700 to schedule an in-person appointment.