Rolling Out the New Health Center Campaign: Access is the Answer
Last week, we held a teleforum call to announce the roll out of our new campaign, Access is the Answer. Health centers are facing our biggest obstacle to date- a potential 70 percent reduction in funding after Fiscal Year 2015 when the mandatory Health Center Fund under the Affordable Care Act expires. Averting the health center cliff and continuing to modestly grow the program is critical to ensuring that health centers remain financially viable and able to serve the diverse needs of their communities.
Health Centers will be advocating for continuation of the Health Center fund for an additional five years- from Fiscal Years 2016-2020. In addition, we will also be advocating to make certain the final year of available funding under the Health Center Fund in Fiscal Year 2015 is made available for continued stability and expansion of the program as intended under the Affordable Care Act.
In order to ensure we are successful in this enormous task, we have created the Access is the Answer campaign to bring awareness of the Health Center funding cliff at not only the local level of government, but also at the federal level.
The goals of the Access is the Answer campaign are threefold:
1) Define what is real “health care access” means for policy makers and the public. Access is a term used to mean many different things. All too often, access is a term that is used to mean insurance, or even an emergency room. Real access to primary care means actual health care that is affordable, geographically and culturally accessible, and comprehensive.
2) Educate policymakers and the public about why real access to primary care matters and what barriers exist in preventing individuals from getting care. Real access to primary care means better health for individuals and communities, and lower costs for the health care system. Health centers have established an unparalleled record over 45 years, breaking down barriers to primary care access, improving health and producing an enormous return on investment.
3) Advocate successfully for the resources health centers need in FY2015 and beyond for their existing patients and to expand this cost effective and locally-controlled model to communities and individuals still waiting for care.
We have a long road ahead of us, but we have faced similar obstacles in the past and overcome them. Health Center Advocates should be on the lookout for alerts from our Advocacy team. In the meantime, you can view more detailed information on our Advocacy Website www.saveourchcs.org under Access is the Answer.