We can’t stress enough how important it is that you introduce yourself to your newly elected lawmakers, at every level, and begin educating them about Community Health Centers as soon as possible. Many of the freshmen lawmakers may have never heard of a Community Health Center or stepped foot inside of one, and the earlier we can help them understand how Community Health Centers benefit their constituents and communities, the better!
In a year when the state budget deficit is reaching $1.6 billion, it will be easy for cuts to be made to those areas of the budget that legislators are unaware of or that they don’t understand. It is absolutely essential that we educate them now.
The message to share with members of the 96th Michigan legislature and the 112th Congress remains the same as always: Community Health Centers provide comprehensive, quality, affordable health care regardless of insurance status, and their doors are open to everyone in the community. Community Health Centers across the country are on track to double the number of patients served to 40 million by 2015, and they are key players in the transformation of the health care system under health care reform because they save money and increase access to care.
To help in this effort, NACHC has prepared a new toolkit for educating new state officials about the importance of CHCs. Invite incoming and returning elected officials to an event your Health Center is hosting, or to tour your facility and meet patients, board members, and health care professionals. Until the legislators officially take office in January, the best way to reach them is by contacting their campaign headquarters.
As you make contact with your elected officials, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and share the responses of the lawmakers. As MPCA staff continue to advocate on your behalf, it is very important that we know about any established relationships that may already exist between a Health Center staff member, board member, or family member and a newly elected official. It is crucial that we nurture such relationships. If such relationships exist, please share that information with us as well.