SAN FRANCISCO: Brown Opens AIDS Summit With Surprise Appointment
"With another of his trademark surprise appointments, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown [D] opened his AIDS summit yesterday by naming Dr. Mitchell Katz as the city's new health director," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. If the Health Commission approves his nomination Tuesday, Katz "will assume full responsibility for the city's largest department, with a budget of more than $800 million." Katz has been acting as the interim director of the Department of Public Health since July. "He listed as his top priority getting substance abuse 'treatment on demand,'" the Chronicle reports, and said that other priorities included "equal access for mental health services; supportive housing for people with AIDS; more disease prevention dollars; and achieving citywide universal health coverage" (Russell, 1/28).
As expected, the AIDS summit featured a policy recommendation that San Francisco "begin routine reporting of all new HIV infections in an attempt to effectively monitor the AIDS epidemic." However, "San Francisco officials are being urged to develop a monitoring system that would not report the names of HIV-infected individuals," but would instead employ a "system using numbers or codes" (de Sa, Oakland Tribune, 1/28). Also at the summit, "[l]ocal and national experts on Tuesday unveiled a 'blueprint' for cities across America to use against" the epidemic, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bretn, 1/28).