May 6, 2011
This article was provided by the National Minority AIDS Council; Paul Kawata is the organization's executive director.
These changes include:
The challenges include:
To survive, organizations must innovate, adapt and change. Are You Ready?
The HIV/AIDS community supports the larger visions espoused in these changes, but the implementation plans may also pose challenges. For example, as jurisdictions roll out the specifics of their 12 City and ECHPP programs, it is quite possible that minority-serving community based organizations (CBOs) will face cuts in funding as resources are reallocated or redirected elsewhere. This could exacerbate already tough budgetary times. Is this an outcome we can or should support? What if it's necessary for the implementation of the NHAS/12 City Project/ECHPP?
As part of the ACA, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will build capacity in community health centers (CHC) and Ryan White grantees to implement HIV/AIDS medical homes. Are you ready to move your clients to HIV/AIDS medical homes? When they move, will you still be funded to provide services?
In other words, are you ready?
CBOs need to consider the following:
To know if your agency is on the right track, you need to understand these federal initiatives and how they will be implemented. You need to educate yourself, your staff, your clients and your board. Staff, clients and boards were added because they will also need to adapt and change. This can be very difficult, especially when folks think everything is fine.
HHS Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (The plan will be released May 12.)
The above resources will give you a basic primer; they do not provide any critical analysis.
It can be overwhelming to stay on top of all this information. So many vital issues are being implemented simultaneously, what's a Queen to do? Keep your sense of humor and prioritize those issues that have the biggest impact on your agency and your clients. If your staff is large enough, you may want to identify different point persons who will monitor each initiative in depth.
What do these federal initiatives mean for your agency, staff, clients and board?
As a federal official recently said "we are building the plane at the same time that we have to fly it." Because there isn't a clear blueprint, this is a good time to ask questions, challenge assumptions and clarify priorities.
The community wants these initiatives to succeed, but even the word "success" can mean different things to different people.
Does your agency provide services that will be funded as these new initiatives are implemented?
First step: Take an inventory of your agency's services.
Then ask hard questions:
This is the hardest part of the equation. You need to be really honest because your agency's survival depends on these answers.
Does your economic model sustain your agency? What is your economic model?
Second step: Identify all your sources of revenue.
Then ask hard questions:
You are a business. Like any business, your revenue needs to match your expenses (unless you're the federal government).
Change can be scary. Adapting to change is an essential life skill.
The community will play an important part in the success of the NHAS, 12 Cities Project, ACA implementation, RWCA reauthorization and other important administration initiatives. However, only the strong will survive.
NMAC will always be there for you. You can always count on me, my Deputy Director Daniel Montoya (firstname.lastname@example.org), my staff and my board. Thanks for everything you do to fight HIV/AIDS.
Yours in the struggle,