National Blood Donation Eligibility Update (news)

On Friday the FDA proposed new policy revisions that demonstrate a shift toward more inclusive regulations surrounding blood donation for members of the LGBTQ community and those of various sexual orientations, according to reporting from CNBC and others. In 2015, the lifetime ban on gay men from donating blood was eased to allow those who abstained from sex for one year to donate blood, but Friday’s announcement proposed easing those restrictions further. The restrictive blood donation rules have long been criticized as discriminatory. As CNBC reports, “the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights, said the FDA proposal is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to remove restrictions.” The new rules would allow monogamous gay and bisexual men to donate blood, while folks engaging in sex with new or multiple partners must wait three months.
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Rough Transcript


[00:00:00] George: This week on the nonprofit newsfeed, we’ve got some new news, but also I’m just proud because hopefully we sound better. We are trying out

[00:00:36] some new software to make the quality of this podcast better because frankly, we believe in iteratively getting marginally better, fewer mistakes.

[00:00:48] Doing our best every week.

[00:00:49] So hopefully we, we sound a bit better as we bring you, uh, news that sometime is uplifting. I feel like we’ve been on some weird trends recently. Nick. Uh, I am excited though cuz there was a big

[00:00:59] announcement about blood donations and some

[00:01:02] shifts coming.

[00:01:05] Nick: Yes, George. I’ll take us to our top story, and that is, as you said, the news that the FDA has announced that they are going to ease restrictions on gay men. And blood donation eligibility. So this past Friday, the F FDA proposed the new propo new policy with revisions that demonstrate a shift toward more inclusive regulations surrounding blood donations for members of the LGBTQ plus community and those of other sexual orientations.

[00:01:35] This was reported by C N B C and many other outlets. In 2015, the lifetime ban on gay men from donating. Was eased somewhat to allow those who abstain from sex from one year to donate blood. But Friday’s announcement proposed easing those restrictions even further. Um, the longtime restrictive blood donation rules, again, which it’s announced, have been eased a bit, um, have long been criticized as discriminatory by organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and other, and other organizations which.

[00:02:10] New announcement is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a way to go. The new rules would allow monogamous, gay and bisexual men to donate blood while folks engaging with insects with new or multiple partners. Must wait three months. Pretty crazy. This is how long it took to get here.

[00:02:31] Um, still a ways to go. know that, uh, blood donation and community blood drives, touches, uh, on a lot of similar themes and organizations, particularly related to community health, um, and nonprofits that work in community health. So we wanted to bring this story to the forefront.

[00:02:52] George: Yeah, like you said, it, it’s uh, quick check. It’s 2023 and it’s amazing. If you were looking at how, frankly, homophobic originally that this really. The genesis of this concern dates back to the AIDS epidemic and the misunderstandings inherent there. So in addition, it’s great because, you uh, blood shortages, blood donations being needed, Uh, nationally, regionally, and especially when we come in and out of, uh, moments of, uh, disaster and crisis.

[00:03:24] So, uh, it is. wrong and also helping, I think, in the national blood shortages that we episodically see. So, you know, good, good

[00:03:35] news.

[00:03:38] Nick: Absolutely. This is good news All around. Uh, we hope that there’s additional progress is, is made on this issue, but, uh, a welcome announcement for sure. All right. I can take us into our next story. And this is kind of a, a funky source for us. This one comes from courtesy of the US Department of State, uh, and this was a press release celebrating a program that has a lot of IPL implications regarding global efforts to combat hiv aids.

[00:04:15] So on January 20, Was the 20th anniversary of the US President’s emergency Plan for AIDS relief, which is commonly known as pepfar. Uh, that was started under the Bush administration. So PEPFAR is largely considered to be one of the most successful international health intervention programs within the international development space, um, to be implement.

[00:04:45] Not just by the us but by anyone anywhere. Uh, the, the 20 years of the program has, has really helped a lot of analysts say combat hiv, aids, um, particularly in Africa and on the African. Continent. Um, two decades later, PEPFAR has supported nearly 65 million people, um, with h I V treatment and testing services and provides more than 20 million men, women, and children with lifesaving anti-retroviral treatment or a r t and. Uh, to build on the programs during Legacy, the, the State Department and PEPFAR are attempting to reinvigorate the US global response to end the H I V AIDS pandemic by 2030. And I will say when you look at the, the origins of this, um, it was definitely came of a different time, right? Bush administration.

[00:05:40] Um, there was actually some like spen only education that was kind of controversial that was in there that eventually. Uh, legally excluded permanently. But has done a tremendous amount and was really in a whole of government effort. It was the State Department, it was the Department of Commerce. It was the Department of Defense.

[00:05:58] It was Peace Corps volunteers on the ground. It was nonprofit and NGO implementing partners. It was a really, really collaborative, kind of interdisciplinary, uh, project here, of course as well, facilitated by U S A I D. So just of a, in a world. Bad news. Sometimes it feels like a good news story worth celebrating that we actually are of course, with lots of collaboration, uh, able to tackle big issues.

[00:06:29] And I think that this is one example of a time that the world has tackled a big issue and made a.

[00:06:39] George: Really impressive. Also, seeing that, you know, they’re trying to set a target of ending the H I V AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030. And you know, as a reminder, I think the word pandemic, the word pandemic has a deeper meaning, I think for all of us now.

[00:06:56] and considering that this, I think, officially came on the scenes in 1980.

[00:07:01] sort of gives you the idea of how, how long we may be in a, a global, uh, a global focus. Now seeing that they support nearly 65 million folks, uh, across the world with H I V aids, uh, as part of this program, uh, which is very impressive with H I V treatment and testing services.

[00:07:19] Nick: Absolutely. Phenomenal program, and we hope to see it achieve even more in the coming years. All right, I’ll take us into our next

[00:07:32] story. And if you are fans of the Daily from the New York Times, of course, the autonomous, uh, podcast, uh, this is a story for you. I will say, as heard first on nonprofit and the nonprofit newsfeed. Podcast v. Um, but the Dail is finally caught up to us and issued a podcast episode of their own called How Nonprofit Hospitals Put Profits Over Patients.

[00:08:02] Uh, the episodes hosted by Sabrina Tai and talks about nonprofit hospitals, which make up half of hospitals in the United States, many of which were founded to help the poor really kind of emphasize how these cop hospitals. Deviated from their public. Good missions and values essentially operate like for-profit businesses, charging absurd rates and really failing some of the communities and poorer patients that they serve.

[00:08:32] So, really worth a listen. Times. Most of what we, we talked about on this podcast was, was from journalists at the New York Times, and we love them. They’ve been really pulling the thread on this, uh, in a great. Um, but, uh, cool to listen, um, to this story that really, really highlights this complicated issue.

[00:08:48] Um, and just kind of how broad and how important and an issue this is and needs to be talked about more like this needs to be reformed.

[00:08:59] George: I’ll, I’ll say this is not complicated actually. If you have an operating 5 0 1 For Public Benefit Hospital, there is a requirement that for the folks that fall below a certain, uh, poverty t. You cover their services. You don’t harass them for, for payment. You don’t harass them for payment at the bedside.

[00:09:25] Some of these stories are, are really, uh, are really depressing and they’re, you know, I think they were a little light on it. But, uh, as organizations of Providence, uh, which had a hospital system, uh, that they said recently merged with a. Nonprofit hospital, they hire. Mackenzie and Company.

[00:09:44] So Mackenzie and company, the consulting firm, Mackenzie and Company then came up with the plan to get patients to fork over money. I’m quoting here, and they called it rev up as in revenue up Nonprofit focused consulting agency. Uh, I think there is an interesting amount of attention that could be paid to who consults in these moments and saying, is it a honest, correct thing to advise a nonprofit to maximize revenue in the face of. and they got one line and you know, the story moved on.

[00:10:30] I, I found that interesting. Um, I found that very interesting. In terms of maximizing revenue, no, we maximize impact consultants that work in the industry, should remember that, um, that there is a double bottom line. And honestly, I, I hope more ink is spent on practice. that promote predatory behavior toward income, uh, income constrained communities.

[00:10:58] Uh, it frustrates me. Um, it, it is frustrating, um, because there is, you know, not just one actor here, there, there are a bunch of folks, um, trying to be really clever. , um, at the expense, uh, of a community. So we’ve had, debt, uh, on the podcast to speak about how they approach, um, large medical debt. If, if this I’ll say, if this frustrates

[00:11:21] you, go, go to that organization and look at the fact that you could turn $1

[00:11:26] into $100 of, uh, medical

[00:11:29] debt relief. Individuals struggling under this system, so channel the rage, write a check. Maybe I’ll

[00:11:35] go pause and go do that

[00:11:36] right now.

[00:11:39] Nick: Yeah. George, I feel your rage as well. And this dovetails with the other thread we’ve been following, which was the nursing strike in New York City. Nurses at nonprofit hospitals advocating for, yes, better pay, but primarily advocating for. More staff to do their jobs well. Right. And hospitals are so laser focused on profit and margins that nurses who say that they feel that they are dangerously understaffed or being ignored, um, and those, those pro, those strikes worked and resolved, they were able to negotiate it affects real people, it affects real communities and yeah, hopefully, uh, It’s good to see reporting from the times, keep the ball moving on this, but that’s, that’s one ball going up against a really, really steep incline, the American Hospital Industrial Complex as you were. So we’ll see what happens.

[00:12:44] George: Well, another point here, I, I want to be fair that I don’t mean that like all nonprofits should, not have a profit or not be able to pay their staff enough or not have income generating activities. By all means, I will jump to the front of the line and champion that. Absolutely do that. But before you sort of bring out the, the, the world’s smallest violin in this moment.

[00:13:11] Right. And, and cry for this organization, like they had 27 billion, Providence had 27 In, in revenue. you know, this is not, uh, this is not a small organization

[00:13:21] and you know, they’re not paying tax

[00:13:24] when, when you’re a

[00:13:24] nonprofit. So, um,

[00:13:28] mind you a I’d say in, in this, in this level of conversation for

[00:13:32] nonprofit hospitals, uh, I’m finding a hard, um, a hard case to, to find the other.

[00:13:40] Nick: I’m with you, George. Hopefully we have good news to report in the near future, but a big problem that’s going to take a big solution over a long time. But you know what is a solution that already exists that. Can really help people very

[00:14:03] directly is the SNAP program. So our next story comes from Gothamist, and this article is titled, uh, snap Food Stamp Payments are about to get smaller and New Jersey lawmakers want to fund the difference.

[00:14:18] So SNAP is the, uh, supplemental nutrition assistance program run by the federal. AKA food stamps and it helps people buy food at supermarkets. And, um, it was increased during the pandemic. um, as part of pandemic funds that really helped people. It also helped, uh, mitigate some of the challenges due to rising food costs.

[00:14:43] But it’s about to expire except lawmakers in New Jersey, um, are looking to potentially extend, actually use state funds to extend the increased benefits from the pandemic era. Snap. Increases, which I think is really innovative and really clever problem and public policy, um, to extend programs like this.

[00:15:04] And I think we wanted to bring this to your attention because some of these programs, the, the SNAP program, um, like this is public policy that works. And we love talking about public-private partnerships on nonprofits and communities and. Food assistance is an all hands on effort problem that needs an all hands on deck approach.

[00:15:33] And, uh, it, it’s, Yeah. I I think an important story, um, cuz I know a lot of nonprofits touch on this, but, uh, wanted to highlight it here. Uh, George, what, what are your thoughts around this?

[00:15:46] George: Yeah. I think food stamp programs are up there for most efficacious in terms of helping an audience because that the direct connect between, Hey, here’s money for food, essentially, uh, vital, you know, vital nutrients for families that are, you know, struggling to, to make ends meet. And by the way, uh, while the pandemic may be winding down, , the inflation is winding up, right?

[00:16:13] The general cost of living has increased, which is a holdover, hangover, pandemic effect of what we did to the economy, to, you know, bridge that gap. And I think, you know, we’re gonna be paying attention to stories like these where. The, I believe current timeline is sometime in the next six months where the Biden administration will be making announcement that we are, you know, officially out of the emergency phase of the pandemic may give the excuse of cutting some programs.

[00:16:41] Maybe some should be cut, but I think others that are serving, um, uh, lower income communi communities should be, uh, should be preserved, uh, especially in the time of inflation. So I worry a little bit about sort of taking the, uh, you know, the emergency moniker off of, uh, some of the assistance programs and giving the excuse to, to cut back or maybe we shouldn’t, uh, and, and. um, programs like, uh, food stamp assistance. Um, in my college days I was in Philly and I actually worked with, uh, a group that registered people for food stamps and, you know, would walk through line item. Like I would sit there and I was in, um, you know, approaching folks, being like, Hey, um, would you wanna apply for food stamps?

[00:17:25] And we would go through their budgets and, you know, it was. It was shocking. Like it, this is not something that is being, you know, handed out on the street. You have to go through a pretty rigorous application process actually in that, you know, in that day at the very least. And also is very, uh, very real when you’re looking at, you know, raw numbers of like, you know, you make this much and food costs that

[00:17:47] much, and rent costs as much like,

[00:17:49] There’s, you know, there’s very, very thin margins that folks are who apply

[00:17:53] for food stamps, uh, living on.

[00:17:55] And so these numbers seem small. Oh, we’re reducing it from $95 down to 50.

[00:18:00] Like those are,

[00:18:02] uh, I mean, that’s the difference of a number of meals right there. Um, so I’m, uh, I’m a fan of food stamp programs, uh, because I, I believe it supplements

[00:18:11] in a supportive way.

[00:18:14] Nick: Yeah, George, I absolutely agree with you. Uh, we talked about as well, like apps that help people access, um, various benefits related to, to food. one well taken that it’s a very real, very human problem and a very effective policy intervention.

[00:18:34] Um, . We’ll continue to follow that, that program and see what happens out of New Jersey. Um, George, how about a feel Good story.

[00:18:45] George: Ooh, where we at?

[00:18:47] Nick: All right. This one comes from. Okay, I’m gonna say this wrong, the mountain That, uh, inexplicably has watauga in it’s domain name, Don domain name. Anyhow, uh, it is an article about the annual high county K nine keg

[00:19:10] poll. Has returned to the

[00:19:13] Appalachian Mountain Brewery for its 10th anniversary to raise money for the partners exclamation point, canine nonprofit.

[00:19:22] The event was held, uh, last Saturday and I think this is awesome. Supporting dog rescue nonprofits like Partners Canines, um, and their shelter, which has helped more than 10,000 dogs since 2007. And the model is that for every beer purchased, $1 will get donated to help dogs in need. And we love to see that.

[00:19:44] Um, never, Uh

[00:19:47] a more noble reason, um, to drink lots of beer on a Saturday afternoon.

[00:19:53] George: Yeah. Um, again, that’s the 10th annual High Country Canine Keg poll. I just wanted to say that actually, , what a great name. It’s perfect. Uh, but, you know, the organization did and has over 10,000, uh,

[00:20:07] kines. So this is, uh, uh, good, good to support,

[00:20:12] um, an actual, an actual nonprofit doing actual work for, uh, local shelters.

[00:20:17] Uh, Nick, I’ve got

[00:20:19] a question.

[00:20:20] Nick: Uh huh.

[00:20:23] George: I know you’re

[00:20:23] excited. Uh, why did the nonprofit Million Tree Planting Project fail?

[00:20:32] Nick: Oh, I don’t know.

[00:20:34] George: Uh, it was too shady,

[00:20:38] Nick: It’s too,

[00:20:40] George: you know, cuz you know, the, the trees make, um, make