Health Center Advocacy Is the Key to Our Future
The Health Center Movement began with just two health centers in two communities 50 years ago. Today, Health Centers serve over 24 million Americans at more than 9,000 delivery sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. One in every fifteen people living in the United States depends on their services. Health Centers deliver high quality, cost effective, accessible care while serving as critical economic engines helping to power local economies. Support for health centers continues to grow, despite countless economic and political changes because of grassroots advocates who informed policymakers about the Health Center Movement. In April 2015, Congress passed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Included in H.R. 2 was an extension of Health Centers’ mandatory funding for another two years, at Fiscal Year 2015 levels ($3.6 billion per year for a total of $7.2 billion). The bill also included two additional years of funding for the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers Program. The inclusion of Health Center funding in the bill and passage of H.R. 2 was due in no small part to the efforts of all health center advocates—without them communicating the value and importance of health centers to Congress, the health center program would have lost significant funding to provide care to patients in need.
As you consider how the benefits of advocacy have helped your health center and your community, think about how much more still needs to be done. You can join the Campaign for America’s Health Centers. Meeting with and communicating with policy makers is only one part of advocacy. Educating your community, highlighting health centers in the media and registering people to vote are all essential elements of effective advocacy. NACHC is committed to giving health center advocates the tools they need to make their voice heard. Please use the CFAHC advocacy toolkit and let us know other tools you need or questions you have by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How You Can Become a Health Center Advocate
One person working to raise public awareness and build support for health centers can have a major impact. Many people working together can achieve exponentially greater gains.
So, how can you get involved? It’s easy. Join the Campaign for America’s Health Centers to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the health center world and to get timely calls to action so that you can speak up in support of health centers when it’s most important!
As the old saying goes, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Policy and opinion makers depend on advocates to help them understand and recognize issues that deserve their support. Without grassroots advocacy, health centers risk losing public support for their needs.