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Following a strategy session with Ohio’s Primary Care Association, which included a pep talk from Board Chair and Community Health Services CEO Joe Liszack, Ohio’s advocates (including Compass CEO, Summer Kirby and Outreach and Enrollment Specialist, Samantha Walls) turned out in force to help spread the message to the Buckeye state’s legislators about the crucial services health centers provide for their constituents.
The morning started early with a meeting with Abigail Duggan, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Sherrod Brown, and ended with advocates getting a few moments with the Senator, himself. Advocates opened with a ‘thank you’ for the Senator for his continued support of health centers and their funding. It was asked that the he continue to support the 340B program, a program which helps lower the cost of prescriptions for patients, as well as allows health centers to reinvest incoming funds back into their local communities. Furthermore, he was asked to support a Telehealth bill that would allow reimbursement for such services which would be extremely beneficial for clinics, such as Compass, who service patients where it may be difficult to travel in-town for care due to geography or for elderly patients who have difficulty traveling due to disabilities.
Next on the agenda was a meeting with Gregory Brooks, Legislative Director for Representative Brad Wenstrup. As with Senator Brown, the similar set of asks were delivered. An extra ask was that the Congressman sign the House’s annual health center support letter, known as the Bilirakis-Green letter. Mr. Brooks assured Ohio’s advocates that the letter was on Dr. Wenstrup’s list of “Things to Do” and, later that evening, it was reported, that he had signed the letter before the 5:00 PM deadline. (If you have a minute, maybe you could take to social media and thank Congressman Wenstrup for his support! Tell him @CompassOhio sent you!)
The final meeting of the day was with Seth Gold, Legislative Assistant to Senator Rob Portman. While advocates spent some time delving into the same asks, many also spent time discussing several budget initiatives promoted to help combat the opioid epidemic, a cause near-and-dear to the Senator’s heart.
All-in-all, Ohio’s advocates wrapped the day up successfully with an added signature on the House’s health center support letter, as well as words of encouragement from the state’s legislators for the work that health centers and their staff do.
Also, not to brag, but we’ve decided the Buckeye state has the best looking group of advocates out there!