How To Get Ready For The Trump Administration BY: PAUL KAWATA · NMAC· DECEMBER 15, 2016
Many of you are concerned, even frightened, about what the Trump administration means to the HIV community. The truth is, we have no idea. Our movement depends on government funding to provide health care, medications, social services, housing and other support as needed for the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Until we get the administration’s FY 2017 and FY 2018 budgets, we can only speculate about possible cuts. Who they choose to lead the CDC, HRSA, and NIH will give us a better indication of future opportunities or challenges. At this point, it’s all a guessing game.
Until we know specifics, NMAC has decided to hit the pause button, to wait for the federal budgets and to get to know the administration’s new leaders before finalizing the tenor and tone of our 2017 meetings, publications, and strategies. NMAC continues to be committed to lead with race. We look forward to producing USCA, NHPS, and other programs. However, without details, it’s hard to create meaningful strategies, programs or a vision to end the epidemic.
Pressing pause does not mean giving up. NMAC is using this time to review the agency’s internal systems, especially those that report to government funders. Not that there is anything wrong, but this is a good time to double check policies and infrastructure.
For all community-based organizations and health departments that receive federal funding (directly or indirectly), consider reviewing your agency’s compliance with federal rules and guidelines. Be sure to look at:
Human Resources Policies
Technology is our Friend
This e-newsletter shares some of NMAC’s tools. The agency uses technology to try and stay ahead of the curve. Cloud-based programs create data sets that are transparent, sharable, and secure. NMAC currently uses: (We do not get any funding for these recommendations.)
NMAC uses Intacct, a cloud-based accounting system. Intacct gives online access so select staff can review the agency’s financial infrastructure without having to bother finance. This cloud-based system let’s senior staff monitor and review their division’s cash flow, expenditures, and revenue. We have dashboards with restricted access for each division. Our auditors love its ease of use, transparency, and its ability to provide real-time data. It also has an API (application programming interface) with Anybill, our system to code and approve invoices.
It’s also a good time to review operating procedures. At NMAC we are reviewing:
NMAC uses Anybill to ensure appropriate coding and authorization of expenses. This online system allows staff to track or find invoices. The company automatically scans as well as set-up an online approval mechanism for all expenses. For NMAC, it has simplified coding and authorization. We no longer look for an invoice that might be stuck on someone’s desk. Everything is on the web and in the cloud. Anybill directly pays all approved invoices and has an automatic API with our Intacct accounting system.
Staff supported by government funds need to do an internal audit to ensure compliance with all federal policies and regulations. I’ve asked NMAC staff to work with their supervisor to review internal procedures and look at the following:
Account Coding & Approval
Staff is responsible for knowing and following all federal guidance and policies. The latest information is stored in an online system that all staff can access from the laptops (see below).
NMAC recommends using an online system for timesheets. ADP is our cloud-based program that helps staff track and code their work hours. It also gives supervisors the ability to approve and/or review timesheets online without having to track down a paper copy. Employees have secure access to their timesheets, pay stubs, and W-2 forms. The system also tracks sick leave and vacation time. ADP does direct deposit to employee’s bank accounts or provides paychecks as needed. Since its based in the cloud, we no longer store paper forms that can get easily lost.
It is important to have access all the programmatic and financial reports required by funders. NMAC puts these documents into a cloud-based storage system called Basecamp. The agency uses this program because it's online, inexpensive (ask for the nonprofit discount), secure, and based in the cloud. Having a central online place where staff can easily access important information has proven invaluable. With turnover, it can get frustrating trying to find documents after staff leave.
Microsoft has a significantly discounted program for nonprofits to get MS 365. For $4.50 per month per user, NMAC gives all staff access to cloud-based MS Office with unlimited email storage and the latest versions of the software for our smartphones, laptops, and tablets. It’s an inexpensive way to get the latest Office products in a cloud-based system that is easy to manage. It has significantly reduced our dependence on outside IT consultants.
Sign up for NMAC’s free mailing list. We usually send out two (2) short messages per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). During the first quarter of 2017, the agency will focus on the latest developments as it relates to what the Trump administration means to the HIV community.
We will also have a resource directory of where you can get the latest information from like- minded organizations on the ACA, Medicaid, Federal Budget, HUD, HRSA, CDC, SAMHSA, NIH, FDA and other programs/policies that highly impact the domestic response to HIV. There are many organizations doing incredible work and NMAC wants to help you sort through your options.
Put USCA (Sep. 7-10 in Washington DC) and NHPS (Dec 2017 in New Orleans) on your calendar. Now more than ever, we need each other. NMAC just learned that Congress will be in session during USCA. The conference will bring the HIV community together with new members of Congress and the administration. By September, we will hopefully have enough information to build a roadmap for working with President Trump and Congress.
We are a movement of people who changed the world. We stand on the shoulders of the many friends and lovers we lost along the way. Because I know our past, I am not afraid for our future. Waiting is tough, but sometimes it’s the only option. The struggle continues...