HEALTH ADVOCACY: THE KEY TO OUR FUTURE

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1 HEALTH ADVOCACY: THE KEY TO OUR FUTURE Alex Harris Grassroots Advocacy Manager for Special Populations National Association of Community Health Centers

2 AGENDA Importance of Health Center Advocacy Advocacy success HR 2 and the Health Center Funding Cliff Making an ongoing commitment to advocacy

3 ADVOCACY IS... Expressing your voice in support of a cause or mission, such as the Health Center mission, by spreading the word and taking action. The World Health Organization (WHO, 1995) describes advocacy for health as a combination of individual and social actions designed to gain political commitment, policy support, social acceptance and systems support for a particular health goal or programme

4 WHY IS HEALTH CENTER ADVOCACY IMPORTANT?

5 GOVERNMENT DECISIONS IMPACT HEALTH CENTERS DIRECTLY. Other grants/contracts 13% Medicaid/CHIP 40% Federal 21% Medicare 6% State 7% Patient Self-Pay 6% Private third-party payers 8%

6 AND THOSE DECISIONS HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON OUR PATIENTS... 10% 29% 28% 6% 12% 2% 13%

7 ... AND ON THE ECONOMY!

8 ADVOCACY CAN HELP ADDRESS SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH.

9 AND ADVOCACY IS GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH! Telling your story is healthy and empowering! Good for confidence and selfesteem Good for sense of control over life One study found that that when a group listened to others stories they better controlled their high blood pressure than another group taking extra medication. The actual things that happen to you may have less of an impact on your mental health than the things you tell yourself about them.

10 YOUR VOICE HAS A DIRECT IMPACT. Federal Health Center funding Patients Advocates Mar-02 Mar-03 Mar-04 Mar-05 Mar-06 Mar-07 Mar-08 Mar-09 Mar-10 Mar-11 Mar-12

11 Our success (and our future) depends on the strength of our advocacy. ADVOCACY REQUIRES LARGE NUMBERS OF MOTIVATED INDIVIDUALS

12 ADVOCACY SUCCESS! HR 2! Over 23,000 calls Over 12,000 s Countless Access is the Answer activity 180,000 petition signatures, >4,000 Local Support Letters, hundreds of board resolutions, Op-eds, staff letters, etc. Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 Signed by President Obama on April 16 th $7.2 billion mandatory funding for Health Centers for two years Continued funding for Teaching Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps

13 HOW HEALTH CENTER FUNDING LOOKED IN MARCH... 70%

14 ... HOW IT LOOKS NOW. HR Discretionary ACA HR 2

15 THE ENVIRONMENT FOR HEALTH CENTERS The Environment in Washington the BAD Congress not productive - must-pass bills pass, but not much else Limiting budget caps and future funding uncertainty Crowded agenda breaking through the noise is harder than ever ACA and health care remain politically polarizing New members to educate

16 THE ENVIRONMENT FOR HEALTH CENTERS The Environment in Washington the GOOD Bipartisan support for Health Centers mission as we celebrate 50 years Both sides are looking for solutions in the health care arena Health Centers are at the center of the conversation Health Centers in 98% of Congressional Districts (425/435) New members to educate

17 HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Advocacy Access is the Answer Campaign Key Contacts Program Broad smart grassroots Bipartisanship Only way to get things done in current environment Breadth led to depth Connections Members know/see what you do We remind them often

18 THANK YOU!!! As past of the Access is the Answer Campaign, South Carolina made: Over 982 calls (out of 25,000 nationally) Over 10,392 petitions signatures (out of 202,000 nationally) Over 97 local support letters (out of 4,300 nationally) Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the health centers!!

19 ARE WE DONE YET? FY16 Appropriations Funding at Risk After big investments in mandatory funding, Congress may cut back on discretionary funding need to advocate louder than ever to maintain $1.5 billion In September, Congress averted a shutdown and extended all gov t funding until December 11 th. Very unclear after that.

20 OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY? Medicaid changes - Not a LOT of legislative activity at federal level fights are in the states and at CMS - Small tweaks have been proposed - Large changes, including block grants and percapita caps, have been discussed but are not near-term threats 340B Drug Discount Program - First-ever hearing held in March - Flurry of activity in May, but no legislative changes

21 OUTLOOK FOR THE FALL Congress has a long list of to-do s - Appropriations CR until December 11 - Other Deadlines highway trust fund (Oct. 29), debt limit (Nov. 5), expiring budget deal, export-import bank - Mental Health Legislation House E&C - 21 st Century Cures passed House - Medical Innovation Senate HELP - Chronic Care Legislation Senate Finance More at:

22 MAKING AN ONGOING COMMITMENT TO ADVOCACY

23 YOU HAVE TO STAY INFORMED... It s easy! Facebook. #FQHC blog.saveourchcs.or

24 ... AND TAKE ACTION. legislators Call your legislators Participate in an event, meet with your legislators in person! Sign a petition Share something on Facebook or Twitter

25 CREATING A CULTURE OF ADVOCACY Ask leadership to make the commitment Create a space for comments and suggestions from the community Decide on your goals (and your potential challenges) Decide in a plan of action. Think about... How to spread the word How people can make the commitment to be an advocate How to involve the more motivated advocates

26 IS IT OKAY TO DO ADVOCACY AT MY NON-PROFIT?

27 YES! Non-profits including Health Centers and their employees can and should do advocacy.

28 ADVOCACY IS DIFFERENT FROM LOBBYING ADVOCACY Talking to legislators or the community about important issues. Unlimited! LOBBYING Asking legislators or the community to support a specific bill or proposal. <5% of the total budget

29 DON T BE PARTISAN! You have to be impartial to political parties because... It s the law AND it makes sense. Health Centers have support from both parties, and we don t want to risk this.

30 ACCESS IS THE ANSWER CONTINUES Say thank you on social media Organize a local meeting Build your grassroots Engage local media... We need all the support we can get as we look to FY16 discretionary funding and to fix the cliff again in two years!

31 ADVOCACY RESULTS IN POWER Power ISN T the number of Advocates we have on a list, and it ISN T the number of victories we win. Power should be measured by our ability to continually grow and make it impossible that any other group would want to or even could take us on.

32 Thank you! Scan me to add me to your contacts. Alex Harris Grassroots Advocacy Manager for Special Populations National Association of Community Health Centers

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