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Tell Congress no more delays! The time to act is NOW!

Despite progress in early November in the form of Houses’s Championing Healthy Kids Act, the community health center’s “Fix the Cliff” issue is still far from resolved. And now, it seems, there’s talk of another delay to the critical safety net funding until after the first of the year.

Understandably, Congress has had a rather full plate moving into the new year. However, the lack of movement concerning health center funding is continuing to take its toll on the nation’s health centers and the communities they serve. Presently, health centers are reporting difficulty recruiting providers and purchasing equipment with some sites discussing closure due to funding uncertainty. (X)

Recent estimates suggest 27 million, or 1 in 12 Americans, receive care from a community health center. For many of these Americans, health centers are the only viable option within a considerable distance. Because health centers provide care for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, the inability to properly staff or equip a center, or the closure of even one site could be the difference of life or death for many in a community.

That’s why it’s as important as ever that you take action TODAY and demand your Members of Congress recommit to fixing community health center funding before the end of the year.

TELL CONGRESS TO “FIX THE CLIFF”

Fix Cliff

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It’s the Final Countdown!

The U.S. Capitol may be hundreds of miles away but readers should understand the actions our leaders take have a direct and immediate impact on our community.

A case in point is an imperiled health care program that already delivers results for the American taxpayer: Community Health Centers. They now serve 1 in 12 Americans, or 27 million people.  Health centers don’t just save lives, they also lower health care costs, create jobs, and reduce hospital visits so that fewer dollars are spent on “sick care.”   But unless Congress acts by the end of this month to extend their funding, the consequences for these health centers and their patients will be drastic.

The program would be reduced by approximately 70%. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) itself has projected that the impact would be dramatic: closure of 2,800 health center locations, elimination of more than 50,000 jobs, and a loss of access to care for more than 9 million patients.  Keep in mind this is a program that has been in place for more than 50 years and enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress.  Right now more than 75 national organizations,  representing doctors, nurses, hospitals, health centers, children, patients, the faith community, financial institutions and health care industry partners, are banding together and calling on lawmakers to extend health center funding before September 30.

Please help us bring this end of month deadline to our lawmakers attention and ask them to act now. Time is running out! For information on how you can get involved and contact your elected leaders, visit www.hcadvocacy.org today.

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Compass Heads to San Diego for Training, Advocacy, and More

This week, Compass staff Summer Kirby (CEO), Eva Gitome (CFO), and Erin Trapp (Clinical Director) traveled to San Diego to attend National Association of Community Healthcare Center’s (NACHC) annual Community Health Institute (CHI) and Expo. While there they looked for opportunities to network with representatives from Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) from all across the nation, as well as attend general and individualized informational sessions on topics vital to community health center (CHC) operations and interests.

During the opening general session, participants were greeted by new NACHC Board Chair Jim Luisi. Luisi took the opportunity to remind the audience of the fast approaching FQHC fiscal cliff and the important role advocates will play in the coming weeks. They also heard from a community health center patient Anna Arellano, who said community health centers were the key to helping her live a healthier life.

CHI Group I
(L to R) Summer Kirby, Jim Luisi, Erin Trapp, Eva Gitome

At the following general session, attendees were given the opportunity to hear from Erik Wahl, an internationally recognized graffiti artist and author. Wahl discussed how organizations who embrace creativity and “disruption” will flourish, while those who don’t make innovation a top priority will fall behind.

Individualized session topics included discussions on how to improve work flow to identify and address the socioeconomic needs of patients, either through in-house means or through referral sources. Another session focused on how to reduce dependency on grant funding should reductions to the federal budget be ratified. There was also a session on up-to-the-minute updates from Capitol Hill, with special emphasis on funding, Medicaid, telehealth and more.

 

 

jim-e1504035372427.jpeg
(L to R) Eva Gitome, Summer Kirby, Jim Macrae (HRSA), Erin Trapp

One overarching theme of the convention has been the pressing reality of the upcoming FQHC fiscal cliff. If Congress does not act by September 30, 2017 community health centers stand to lose upwards of 70% of their funding. This funding is vital to ensuring community health centers can continue to deliver high quality, affordable health care to all members of the community, regardless of their ability to pay.

That’s why it’s imperative you sign up as an ADVOCATE TODAY, and tell your legislators that good health and FQHC funding is important to you.

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CRITICAL ALERT: Calling All Advocates!

GC WHT

In the past few days, and even hours, there have been substantial changes within the healthcare arena. Due to the fast moving nature of both the state and federal legislative bodies, it’s critical that our advocates take the few short minutes required to respond to both Calls to Action below.

Multi WHT

The state budget is close to being decided upon and it’s not pretty. In its current state, the budget calls for a freeze on enrollment of the expanded group come July 1, 2018. This means, no new enrollees into the expanded category after said date, even if they would have qualified prior. Furthermore, new requirements for the program would exclude unemployed individuals actively seeking work and those seeking addiction treatment services but on waitlists from gaining access to affordable coverage. It’s critical that you take action and alert your state legislators about the dangers of the proposed budget TODAY!

Contact your state legislators today

On the federal side, the newest version of the AHCA has been released and, again, it’s not looking good. The plans, at present, are to phase out expansion dollars within four years and capping the amount of money states would receive per Medicaid enrollee. This would mean upwards of one million Ohioans, alone, being cut from the program. Again, it’s critically important advocates take the time to alert Senators Brown and Portman of the danger millions will face if the bill is enacted in its current form.

Click here now to send a strong health center message to Senators Brown and Portman today! 

Again, we need “All Hands on Deck” responding to these alerts if we are going to effectively fight for the right that no one goes without coverage or so that no one has to make the decision to feed their family over filling prescriptions for their chronic illnesses. Please share with your friends and family and ask for their support. And don’t forget to ask yourselves, “What happens tomorrow when millions of Ohioans lose their coverage.”

DS WHT

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Policy Update

AHCA News

We wanted to share with you, earlier today the US House of Representatives voted to move the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to the US Senate for further consideration. While the bill has passed its first step, there is still a process it must undergo before becoming law. At present, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still in place. Compass will continue to provide our patients with quality affordable care and assist the community with Medicaid and Marketplace applications. We will also continue to advocate to ensure all of our patients have access to comprehensive affordable health coverage. We welcome and appreciate as many advocates as are willing to help us in our efforts. You can sign up here.

 

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Calling All Advocates!

Ask Senator Portman to #valueCHCs by Signing the Wicker-Stabenow Health Center Funding Letter

Senators Roger Wicker (R- MS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) are continuing to circulate a letter in the U.S. Senate in support of Community Health Centers in the FY18 Appropriations Process. Click here to email, tweet, post, or call Senator Portman and ask that he sign. There are only 5 days left until the deadline – act now before April 26.

And don’t forget to sign up to be a health center advocate TODAY! This will help keep you up-to-date on issues and policy changes affecting your healthcare and gives you the opportunity to make your voice a part of the discussions and decisions to come.

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Day Three Recap and Homeward Bound

Friday was a day jam-packed with learning opportunities. The day saw the Compass group separating into various sessions to learn from experts on a range of subjects from congressional updates, to finance, and more. It also allowed them the chance to meet with NACHC members, not just from Ohio, but from all across the United States. This allowed for networking and exchanging of ideas on how to improve operations. During the ‘General Session’, Compass sat in on a presentation given by Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, President of Life Planning Partners, Inc. and Forbes Contributor, and James Macrae, Acting Administrator of HRSA. There they discussed federal updates and what to expect from congress in the coming months, in terms of healthcare reform.

AM Session
‘Repeal, Replace, Repair, Revise, Rebrand? An Up-to-the-Minute Look at Health Policy Developments in DC and Nationwide’

Friday was also the day where Compass members had the chance to meet with vendors and discuss products and services that could assist in daily operations. It was a chance to see some old faces from previous OACHC vendor exhibits, as well as meet new sales representatives from all over the country.

Saturday, the last day of the conference, saw the Compass delegation partaking in extra educational sessions. Topics included governance, social media and compliance, and how to prepare for National Health Center Week.

Saturday Session
‘Getting the Most Out of National Health Care Center Week 2017’

With all of the knowledge gained over the past week, Compass looks forward to sharing what they’ve learned with the team back home and utilizing said knowledge to better serve the patients of Southern Ohio.

This has been a great, educational experience and has given us the opportunity to remind Ohio’s congressman and senators of the great work being done by community health care centers, especially in Southern Ohio. And, while the team may be headed back home, that doesn’t mean the advocacy stays in D.C. The healthcare discussion is far from over and, if we are to ensure that every citizen of Ohio has access to affordable, quality healthcare, we need to make sure our politicians hear from us. So don’t forget to sign up as a health center advocate. And be on the lookout for advocacy updates and ways you can make sure you have a say in the healthcare discussion.

Thank you for taking this journey with us and for your continued support.

 

 

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Day Two Recap – A Little More Coffee, A Smidge More Politics, and a Whole Lot of Advocating

To start the day, Beth and Samantha joined other NACHC Policy and Issues Forum first-timers, including Dr. Aaron Clark, CMO of PrimaryOne Health, in meeting Senator Sherrod Brown at his constituent coffee. They had the opportunity to thank Senator Brown for his attendance at October’s round table discussion with The Counseling Center and to thank him for his continued support of CHCs. They also had the pleasure of speaking with his legislative director, Jeremy Hekhuis, further detailing the need for support behind Ohio’s CHCs.

At the same time, Todd and Summer were back at the conference hall attending a session regarding health center operations. They spent time learning how Compass can continue, deliver, and expand its current services.

The Compass group then reconvened with other Ohio FQHC delegates to meet with Representative Brad Wenstrup. It was asked of Rep. Wenstrup to support continued health center grant funding, workforce initiative funding, and Medicaid expansion. Rep. Wenstrup was very open to the discussion and spoke of his support for CHCs.

OACHC Wenstrup Hill

#FunFact: Dr. Wenstrup once served as a board member of a Cincinnati-area CHC.

Next, the Ohio group met with Senator Brown’s aide, Abigail Duggan, to ask the same support from the senator. Ms. Duggan assured the group that Sen. Brown was a big supporter of CHCs and that he would do what he could to assure we have the needed resources so we can continue to deliver high quality care to the citizens of Ohio.

To wrap up the day, the group met with Jack Dolan, aide to Senator Rob Portman. Again, the three asks of grant funding, workforce initiative funding, and Medicaid expansion support were brought to the forefront of the conversation, with Summer leading the charge. Mr. Dolan assured us that CHCs had Sen. Portman’s support, especially in terms of how they have been one of the biggest responders to the opioid epidemic.

OACHC Portman Hill

Friday will see the Compass group breaking into various educational sessions. Topics include finance, compliance, advocacy, and a plethora of others. Stay tuned for summaries from tomorrow’s sessions. In the meantime, make sure you sign up to be a health center advocate.