Dear Members, Collaborators and Stakeholders,
It is an honor to lead Advocates for Community Health (ACH) into its third year with a visionary Board of Directors, dedicated staff, and engaged members. ACH is driving change in healthcare policy and across the system as a whole in this critical year for health centers. ACH remains laser-focused on advocating for bold, visionary policy and legislative action that not only addresses the immediate needs of CHCs and the patients they serve nationwide, but also developing a long-term plan that ensures health centers can fulfill their mission and lead innovations to best serve those in need and to improve our healthcare system for all.
We made great progress in 2023 as ACH continues to expand the universe of support for health centers across the government, public, and private sectors in multiple ways by:
We were joined by 30 of the nation’s largest CHCs at our 2nd Annual Member Meeting to share best practices, and advocate on Capitol Hill. The event featured Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Associate Administrator of the Bureau of Primary Health Care at Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) Jim Macrae, Associate Administrator for the Bureau of Health Workforce Luis Padilla, Special Assistant to the President Catherine Oakar, and many other federal leaders.
2023 was a year of growth for ACH. We entered into collaborations with organizations that share our vision to expand resources for CHCs. We launched a three-year plan in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare Community & State to empower health center leaders to drive change in their communities. Two of these initiatives – the Community Health Entrepreneur Challenge, a $500,000 grant opportunity available to five ACH members, and Leadership Peer Learning Collaboratives targeted to value-based care and health center operations – launched this year with outstanding member engagement. ACH announced a partnership with Health Choice Network to provide enhanced policy, advocacy, and technological support to drive increased resources and access to quality care in underserved communities nationwide.
We are ensuring that workforce needs are incorporated into the Community Health Center Trust Fund reauthorization discussions, and we are very encouraged to see our policy proposals included in the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act passed out of the HELP Committee.
We continue to work with Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA) on the Emergency Preparedness for Underserved Populations Act, legislation to create a fund that will help health centers prepare for the next pandemic, natural disaster, or other emergency.
There is, of course, much more to do. We remain steadfast in our commitment to advance visionary and innovative policy and advocacy initiatives to effect positive change across the health care system. This is driven by our members collective mission to deliver high quality, culturally sensitive, accessible care to underserved populations and to achieve health equity for patients and populations in need.
I sincerely thank our staff, partners, and other colleagues who have worked together to achieve so much under difficult circumstances over the past year. This report, above all, is a testament to their dedication.
Amanda Pears Kelly, CEO
ACH commended the U.S. House of Representatives for coming to a bipartisan agreement and passing the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (H.R. 5378) which contains a 10% increase for the Community Health Center Trust Fund to $4.4 billion a year for a two-year period, through the end of 2025.
POLITICO interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly on the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act and ACH’s hope that House’s vote to pass the bill will jump-start negotiations with the Senate.
ACH hosted a members-only Congressional Earmarks 101 webinar to discuss the upcoming Fiscal Year 2025 “earmarks” process, how Advocates for Community Health members can access this potential funding source, and how ACH can help with requests.
ACH and UnitedHealthcare recognize the importance of peer learning, specifically providing space and opportunity for health center leaders to share important practices, industry knowledge, and to network with one another. ACH hosted two peer learning collaboratives targeted to senior health center professionals on the topics of Value-Based Care and Health Center Operations. UnitedHealthcare is supporting the capacity building at ACH necessary to support the development, implementation, and management of this initiative.
CEO Amanda Pears Kelly participated as a speaker for a 340B Report webinar where she reviewed ACH’s 340C proposal advocacy to protect the 340B program, especially for health centers.
Bloomberg Government interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly in a Health Policy spotlight around ACH’s request to enact long-term, meaningful increase funding for the CHC program.
The Washington Post interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly for their 202 The Health.
As part of a multi-year collaboration, ACH and UnitedHealthcare Community & State announced that five announced that five community health centers will receive $500,000 each to address complex problems affecting the overall wellness of the underserved communities where they provide care.
POLITICO interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly to share what the looming government #shutdown would mean for these hyper-local health equity hubs.
ACH joined the National Minority Quality Forum, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and 17 partner organizations to form the Data Equity Coalition, a new partnership to improve health outcomes through better, more accurate and more representative data on race, ethnicity and language and sexual orientation and gender identification.
The federal Health Resources and Services Administration can help insulate health centers from the impact of a shutdown in the short term, but “the danger to health centers grows the longer a shutdown goes on,” ACH Senior Vice President of Policy & Government Affairs Stephanie Krenrich, wrote in an email to The Washington Post.
CEO Amanda Pears Kelly presented at HRSA’s National Telehealth Conference 2023 and discussed improving access to health care for underserved populations through telehealth technology.
ACH celebrated its second year and hosted a general information session for health center leaders across the network.
ACH spearheaded and sent Congress a letter signed by more than 100 national, state, and local organizations urging immediate action to ensure health centers have access to the 340B program through our 340C proposal. Our proposal addresses concerning attacks on the program by creating a provision in the existing 340B program that would protect covered entities in exchange for transparency and accountability. ACH’s proposal has been well received on Capitol Hill, by HRSA, and among 340B stakeholders. 340C was entirely ACH member driven to ensure health center needs and priorities were at the core of the proposal.
Axios interviewed SVP of Policy & Government Affairs Stephanie Krenrich: Health Care: Health centers in limbo (axios.com)
In an interview with POLITICO Pro, CEO Amanda Pears Kelly elevated the urgency for a bipartisan agreement to support increased funding for health centers.
The 340B Report interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly who stated, “We fully support all advocacy efforts that stand to help advance 340B protections and believe strongly that 340C is the best first step to creating such protections.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMS Innovation Center) developed and launched the new Making Care Primary (MCP) Model. This model leverages community-based connections to address patients’ health needs and their health-related social needs. ACH is encouraged to see this new MCP model come to fruition, especially as it is the result of more than a year of conversations between the CMS Innovation Center, ACH, and health equity stakeholders across the country. We are proud to see many of the recommendations from ACH’s Value-Based Care Working Group included in the model.
CEO Amanda Pears Kelly joined UnitedHealthcare Community & State Vice President of Policy & Advocacy Kate Paris to present at the inaugural CMS Health Equity Conference.
POLITICO interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly on the implications that Medicaid redetermination will have to health centers.
ACH hosted a well-attended panel discussion on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress and their staff on the need for bold investments in community health centers, titled “A Perfect Storm: Community Health Centers and the Fight to Protect Patient Care.” This event took place during our May Fly-In, where ACH members met with dozens of Congressional offices to discuss our funding asks and share our 340C proposal. This same week, ACH sent a letter signed by 140 national, state, and local organizations urging Congressional leaders to champion increased funding for health centers.
ACH members had more than 20 meetings with members of Congress to urge them to invest in a proven, bipartisan solution to our nation’s healthcare crisis. We met with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and were encouraged by their support for the critical, comprehensive care health centers bring to underserved communities across the country.
Bloomberg Law spoke to ACH SVP of Communications & Marketing Danielle Veira who emphasized the importance of providing essential resources to health centers to continue their important work.
ACH launched a three-year plan in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare Community & State to empower health center leaders to drive change in their communities. We launched two initiatives that are part of our multi-year collaboration with UnitedHealthcare – the Community Health Entrepreneur Challenge, a $500,000 grant opportunity exclusively available to five ACH members, and Leadership Peer Learning Collaboratives targeted to value-based care and health center operations.
ACH welcomed corporate member Quest Diagnostics, a generous sponsor of both our annual member meetings and programming partner.
ACH was honored to be invited to testify on behalf of health centers before the Senate HELP Committee in a hearing titled “Community Health Centers: Saving Lives, Saving Money.” At this hearing, ACH CEO Amanda Pears Kelly highlighted the critical need for not only a timely reauthorization of the CHC Trust Fund, but an increase in investment and long-term funding to address growing need and fiscal uncertainty.
ACH held its second Annual Member Meeting in Washington, DC which convened almost 30 of the nation’s largest FQHCs to hear from high-ranking officials in Washington, share best practices, and advocate on Capitol Hill. The event featured Senate HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Associate Administrator of the Bureau of Primary Health Care at HRSA Jim Macrae, Associate Administrator for the Bureau of Health Workforce Luis Padilla, Special Assistant to the President Catherine Oakar, and many other federal leaders. In addition, health policy reporters from Axios, POLITICO, Bloomberg Government, and The Washington Post shared insights on news trends and how health centers can work with the media to share compelling stories, bolstering advocacy efforts and outreach.
ACH joined Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), ACH members Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC) and Sun River Health, and other community health advocates to announce the introduction of the Health Center Community Transformation Hub Act during a press conference at MHHC’s Maternal Health Center of Excellence. For more than a year, ACH has worked tirelessly with Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her team to draft and advance this legislation.
ACH and Health Choice Network announced a partnership to pursue visionary policy and advocacy and leverage technological innovations and solutions to support health centers in achieving community transformation at the local and national levels.
Axios interviewed CEO Amanda Pears Kelly on the implications on not having long-term funding secured for CHCs.
ACH and Health Choice Network (HCN), a national membership organization serving federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) across the country, announced a partnership to provide enhanced policy, advocacy, and technological support to drive increased resources and access to quality care in underserved communities nationwide. Through this collaborative effort, ACH will pursue visionary policy and advocacy and work with HCN to leverage their technological innovations and solutions to support health centers in achieving community transformation at the local and national levels.