Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuff occurs

That would be one of my favorite sayings. I can say it in polite company--and it's fun to see the light dawn. And, lo, stuff has been occurring.

I managed to get an issue of Texas AIDS eNews out before hitting the road on Saturday, thinking that I would get to Houston for a couple of meetings in the early part of this week. One meeting was cancelled because of Houston's toxic effect on my colleague's lungs. The other didn't quite gel, since the person I would have met with was really in Dallas. Oh, well.

That didn't keep stuff from continuing to occur in my absence. The Commissioner of Health, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, has resigned, effective October 6. Aside from the fact that Dr. Sanchez is a nice fellow and will be missed by many, there's the tiny little fact that once again the Department of State Health Services will go into a legislative session without a leader, or with such a new leader that effective advocacy for the department's programs and budgets will be difficult.

There's another tiny fact that Dr. Sanchez is hell on wheels when the subject is prevention. I recall my first meeting with him and being told in no uncertain terms that a health department's primary concern is prevention, not treatment. I did some fast tap dancing in that meeting to make the point that HIV treatment really is an important part of HIV prevention and was immensely gratified to hear Dr. Sanchez use that same argument later in support of HIV (treatment) funding when speaking to legislators. I was really counting on his support for a request for actual funding for HIV prevention funding this time around.

As if that weren't enough, the state's leadership has issued its instructions to state agencies--about four months late--on what to ask for in their legislative appropriations requests for the 2008-2009 biennium. Our dear leaders have outdone themselves this time. In the last budget cycle, they mandated a 5 percent reduction in budget requests. This time, they're going for a 10 percent reduction.

On the other hand, TWiT is coming back. (Sometimes good stuff occurs.)

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