With a new Congress and a new State Legislature kicking off the start to this new year, and all eyes on health reform repeal efforts, it is critical now more than ever that Health Center supporters advocate for and raise the visibility of Community Health Centers. The continued success of the Health Centers program, which is poised to care for 40 million people by 2015, depends on the active voices of Health Center staff, clinicians, board members, and patients. Who better to educate newly elected and returning lawmakers about the comprehensive, quality, affordable, and cost-effective health care that Community Health Centers provide than those promoting, supporting, developing, giving, and receiving care at Health Centers? Here’s how you can get involved.
1. Know who your state and federal elected officials are. Click here to access Michigan Primary Care Association’s Advocacy Center. Type in your address or ZIP code to learn about your Congressional representatives and your State legislators.
2. Build a relationship with your elected officials. Send them a congratulatory note to introduce yourself and your Community Health Center, or visit them at their office. Continue to nurture those relationships throughout the year by keeping them informed of your Health Center’s accomplishments and challenges. Invite them to events. Attend events in their honor.
3. Register as a Health Center Advocate with Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA). This will ensure that you receive timely information about state and national news that pertains to Health Centers via the MPCA e-Update. You will also receive action alerts about pending state legislation. Register
4. Register as a Health Center Advocate with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). This will ensure that you receive action alerts about pending federal legislation. Register
5. Respond to action alerts that you receive from MPCA and NACHC. Every voice truly does count, and it is grassroots voices that are most effective at educating policy makers about Community Health Centers. Click here to view current action alerts.
6. Communicate with MPCA about your advocacy efforts. To ensure a streamlined effort to educate lawmakers, it is imperative that MPCA know of contacts you make with your elected officials. Email us
7. Attend MPCA’s Legislative Forum in Lansing on March 8. Learn about the political climate in Michigan and meet one-on-one with your state legislators. More information
8. Attend NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum in Washington, DC, on March 23-27. Get the latest information on health reform and other federal issues pertinent to Health Centers, and visit your federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill. More information
9. Invite your elected officials to visit your Health Center. This will provide them an opportunity to see first-hand how your Health Center benefits their constituents and communities.