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Advocacy & Policy

In addition to directly providing high-quality, culturally responsive healthcare services, Callen-Lorde advocates on the local, state, and federal level for policies that affect the health and wellness of our communities. Want to get involved? Email us at!

New York State Health Equity & Justice Agenda for Fiscal Year 2021

Callen-Lorde is the global leader in LGBTQ healthcare. For more than 50 years, we have been transforming lives in LGBTQ communities through excellent comprehensive care, provided free of judgement and regardless of ability to pay. Callen-Lorde believes healthcare is a human right, and comprehensive, quality healthcare should be available to all.  These are our New York State budget and policy priorities for Fiscal Year 2021.

Public investment in community-based primary care reduces costs to the state and improves health outcomes for our citizens.

Budget Priorities Fiscal Year 2021

  • Reject Harmful Medicaid Cuts.  Callen-Lorde is a member of Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY). While the State faces a Medicaid budget crisis, now is not the time to abandon its national leadership position in providing comprehensive health insurance to all who need it. We join MMNY in urging state policy makers to maintain its unwavering commitment to the Medicaid program and thoughtfully address the budget crisis by preserving its strengths. We further urge Governor Cuomo to include the meaningful participation of consumers on the Medicaid Redesign Team II.
  • Preserve ADAP Funding. For the first time ever, the budget proposes granting authority to the Executive to “reduce, transfer or interchange” ADAP funding for other purposes. Callen-Lorde strongly opposes sweeping ADAP funding. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides free medications for the treatment of HIV, AIDS and opportunistic infections. The drugs provided through ADAP can help people with HIV and AIDS to live longer and treat the symptoms of HIV infection.
  • Maintain $54M in Uncompensated Care Safety Net Pool. Callen-Lorde provides healthcare to all who seek our service regardless of ability to pay. Twenty-seven percent of our patients in the 2018 fiscal year were uninsured. Safety net funding is needed to ensure ongoing access to care for all New Yorkers in community-based settings and to address ongoing threats to coverage for immigrants.
  • Add $24M to End the HIV Epidemic in New York State.  Callen-Lorde has been caring for people living with HIV and AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Today we are the largest non-hospital based HIV primary care center in New York. We are committed to ending AIDS in New York State. Investments in HIV rental assistance, PrEP and PEP expansion, women’s services, overdose prevention, and employment programs are necessary to fully implement the Blueprint to End AIDS.
  • Add $10M to Eliminate Hepatitis C. Funding is needed to achieve the state’s plan to eliminate Hepatitis C.  Hep C kills more people in the United States than any other infectious disease combined! Every person lost to Hep C is a preventable death because we have a cure. At Callen-Lorde, we are observing that sexual transmission of HCV among men who have sex with men is increasing.
  • Reject Cuts to Patient Centered Medical Home Program. PCMH funding supports comprehensive primary care services, critical performance improvement initiatives, innovative population health models, etc. that lead to improved health outcomes for our patients.
  • Reject Cuts to “Article 6” Public Health Funding. This funding supports critical local public health initiatives. The Executive Budget proposes to reduce reimbursement by 16% for New York City. This translates to $59 million less revenue for essential public health programs.

 Health Equity  = Racial Equity. We believe true liberation for our communities will only come when we can adequately access culturally-competent and comprehensive health care in all its forms.

Policy Priorities Fiscal Year 2021

  • Repeal Loitering for the Purposes Prostitution [Paulin A654/ Hoylman S2253]. This state legislation that would repeal N.Y. Penal Law § 240.37 (“Loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense”). In addition, Callen-Lorde supports the full legislative platform for Decim NY, including A6983/S4981, state legislation that would vacate prior convictions for offenses resulting from sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and compelling prostitution and A8230/S6419, state legislation that would repeal decriminalize prostitution and certain prostitution-related offenses, and vacate prior convictions for offenses resulting from sex trafficking, labor trafficking and compelling prostitution.
  • Require Comprehensive Sexual Health Education in New York Public and Charter Schools [Nolan- Gottfried A6512/Metzger-Montgomery S4844]. Many public school districts across New York provide sex education that is inaccurate, incomplete, or biased – and some schools provide none at all.  This legislation would require public schools to teach medically-accurate and inclusive K-12 comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate and reflects national standards and best practices. Comprehensive sex education supports young people to make healthy decisions and have healthy relationships, and is critical to the well-being and educational outcomes of young people.
  • Pass the New York Health Act [Gottfried A5248/Rivera S3577]. Over 1 million New Yorkers are currently uninsured and millions more are underinsured.  At Callen-Lorde nearly one-third of our 18,000 patients are uninsured. The New York Health Act would implement a universal, single-payer health care plan that will cover all New Yorkers and eliminate co-pays, deductibles, and sky-rocketing premiums and include long-term care. Callen-Lorde supports the Go Bold on Healthcare in 2020 agenda as well [Go Bold in Healthcare in 2020]

Additional Priorities:

  • Continue to hold New York’s public and private insurers accountable for covering medically-necessary, life-saving gender-affirming care for transgender, gender non-conforming and gender non-binary New Yorkers.
  • Amend and update Public Health Law 2781 to Eliminate Barriers to HIV Testing. This bill would expand the options by which a person is informed that HIV testing is part of routine care. It would require that the notice of HIV testing explicitly state that HIV testing is voluntary. [A7869/S6082]
  • Make Care and Services Provided by Licensed Mental Health Practitioners Eligible for Coverage under Medicaid.
  • Create State-Funded Essential Plan for immigrants who are ineligible for existing coverage. This program would be offered to the 246,000 unauthorized immigrants below 200% of the federal poverty level and would cost $532 million. [A5974/S3900]
  • Pass legislation that would allow a patient to suppress an insurance plan’s “Explanation of Benefit” forms for sensitive health services including reproductive and sexual health care services, HIV/AIDS health services, mental health, etc.
  • Pass the Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act, which would help address the alarming lack of transparency around hate crimes in New York State. [A8070/S6066]
  • Pass the Safe Consumption Services Act. Safe Consumption Sites are a response to the opioid and drug overdose public health crisis, and are places where people can use pre-obtained drugs safely with support from staff to link them to health care services, including drug treatment, social services and housing. [A8534 Rosenthal]