This will be a critical year for the Community Health Center (CHC) movement, CHCs themselves, and their patients. Fundamental changes to the health care system are being debated by federal and state governments, and the results of such debates will greatly impact the work of CHCs.
This past week, Congress was unable to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have repealed major provisions of the Affordable Care Act and initiated huge cuts to federal funding of Medicaid. While this failure to pass legislation is considered a small win for CHCs and their publicly insured, uninsured, or under-insured patients, the road ahead is still uncertain. Congress still needs to address a looming 70% cut to the Health Center Program before funding expires September 30, 2017. It is critical that every Member of Congress hear from their constituents back home on the value and impact that CHCs deliver in communities across the country, and that they are urged by citizens from all walks of life to protect and strengthen the health care system for CHCs and their patients in the midst of any changes to come.
Grassroots advocacy has been at the center of the CHC movement since it began over 50 years ago. The Health Center Program has become what it is today—a nationwide network of over 1,375 clinic sites that provide care to over 25 million people in more than 9,800 rural and urban communities—thanks to the thousands of voices that have shared how CHCs have positively impacted them and their communities. With the uncertainty around the future of health care, specifically Medicaid, as well as the looming funding budget cuts that CHCs face at the federal level, your voice is needed now more than ever.
Here are a few ways you can get involved, show your support, and advocate on behalf of CHCs:
- Sign up to be a Community Health Center Advocate. By signing up, you will receive emails and action alerts from NACHC and CCHN about issues of importance to CHCs.
- Ask your members to support CHC appropriations by signing on to the “Dear Colleague” letters in the House and Senate. Click here to send an email to your representative adding your voice and name to the letter.
Are you interested in a mission driven career that helps make a difference in patients’ lives? Check out the Mission Driven Careers Job Board or the CHAMPS Job Opportunity Bank for more information about rewarding careers with a Colorado CHC. To learn more about Colorado’s CHCs and other great work they are doing, visit CCHN’s website.