Working to End the HIV Epidemic through Collaborative Routine Screening and Rapid Linkage to Care

When looking at the US cities with the largest population of people living with HIV, it is striking to see that New York City has more people with HIV than the next four cities combined. Despite this serious situation, NYC has made tremendous progress to date, and continues to move closer to ending epidemic levels of HIV in our communities.

HIV screening and linkage to care are critical to success, and OneCity Health’s work is focused on strengthening the existing systems within our network to ensure that we identify the people who are HIV positive and link them efficiently and effectively into life-saving HIV care.

For our OneCity Health partners implementing HIV initiatives during Phase II, our work focuses on a review of our HIV screening and testing efforts, and success with tracking linkage to care. The resources we’ve developed, and continue to develop, can assist our partners with meeting these objectives.

The HIV Assessment Survey, due from OneCity Health HIV partners in late September, will provide a brief assessment for clinical sites to ensure their compliance with New York State law requiring the routine offer of HIV screening to all patients 13 and over. For non-clinical sites, this assessment seeks to capture information on current testing efforts and desire to expand the services offered. The data we receive will help improve our clinical and non-clinical screening network and help individual partners optimize their existing HIV screening resources.

We designed the Phase II Comprehensive Schedule B HIV Linkage Metric (PM005) to help partners that test patients for HIV track their progress with linking patients to care. This will help ensure a direct focus on improving patient outcomes, while also providing partners with a longitudinal view of their patient’s efforts to connect to HIV care. We are asking partners to report progress three times, beginning July 31, 2017 and again at the end of October, 2017 and in January, 2018.

OneCity Health is not alone in these Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) HIV efforts – there is a city-wide coalition of Performing Provider System (PPS) networks that meets regularly to support this work’s success on a population-wide scale. The DSRIP HIV Coalition is a forum to foster shared understanding, promote best practices, and facilitate collaboration between care settings to maximize the effectiveness of DSRIP HIV activities. If our OneCity Health partners are interested in learning more about these meetings, please reach out to our support desk.

HIV screening and linkage to care are core strategies used to combat HIV. By improving the way we identify and manage patients with HIV, we can improve their outcomes and reduce avoidable hospital use.