Since 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has served as a U.S. healthcare advocacy organization for medically under-served and uninsured citizens. The association works with community healthcare centers and providers, helping over 25 million people who need a “family doctor” and a healthcare home. NACHC continuously monitors the rapidly-changing healthcare industry and the policies that impact it, and bipartisan support from Congress has led to positive changes within the industry. What will 2017 bring?
“What is clear is that the road ahead for health centers and our patients will have serious bumps, unexpected curves and potential opportunities,” says Tom Van Coverden, NACHC President/CEO. “Along this road will come challenging debates over the Health Center Funding Cliff, the structure and size of the Medicaid program, broad block grants for many federal programs and the future direction of our health center system of care.”
Coverden says 2017 will require member health centers to commit to advocacy “as never before.” The NACHC is taking steps to educate healthcare organizations’ leaders and board members, stressing what is at stake and the need to take action – repeated action – throughout the year.
The Action Plan
The NACHC has hit the ground running with a 4-part action plan. “Four action steps for Health Centers and their advocates will ensure our advocacy efforts are engaged, informed, prepared and effective,” continued Coverden. The action plan began December 2016 and will continue throughout 2017.
Commit to staying informed.
Monthly in-depth policy and advocacy webinar briefings will be scheduled for advocates to keep them current on strategy, developments and action steps while offering guidance when needed. Webinars have been scheduled for January 18, February 22 and March 2.
Complete a health center data analysis.
NACHC needs data from health centers to assist in its efforts to gain funding for health centers’ business operations and patients and wants to be able to “tell the story” to others. Information needed includes: How much revenue do you receive from Medicaid? What is/will be the financial impact of changes to Medicaid?
Schedule in-person meetings at home with members of Congress.
Connecting with members of Congress is critical; they must be made aware of what sets NACHC apart from other, similar service providers.
- Prioritize and begin building advocacy capacity.
Local, state and federal support depend on each health center’s organized operations and consistent advocacy response. Engaging and educating board members as well as medical staff, patients, and partners using the Advocacy Centers of Excellence (ACE) infrastructure model is one part of this action plan.
The Time to Plan is Now
When 2017 has challenges, the NACHC will find solutions that are “coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent and community-directed for all medically under-served populations.”
Concordance Healthcare Solutions is pleased to be able to support the medical supply needs of community health centers going forward into 2017.
Planning is bringing the future into the present
so that you can do something about it now.