Frequently Asked Questions

How can we help?  If you have a question not answered below, please let us know.

How can ACH support my health center?

Advocates for Community Health (ACH) dares to imagine what community health centers can be with the right investment – already hubs of innovation and the gold standard in primary care the potential for further growth and transformation of both the health center program and the healthcare system as a whole is limitless. ACH asks policymakers to support our members in making health centers the centerpiece of our healthcare system. ACH represents its members with four topline goals:


1. Be the advocacy leader and recognized authority for forward thinking health centers by advocating robustly at the federal level for their needs and priorities.

2. Recruit and cultivate a membership that is forward thinking and driving innovation.

3. Advance a broad scope of initiatives and systems that support the next generation of health centers.

4. Lead a top-notch organization that meets its members agreed upon needs and generates high levels of member satisfaction.

What specific policies does ACH advocate for and how does ACH represent health centers on Capitol Hill?

ACH has seven policy priorities developed entirely based on the feedback and direction of its members. These policy priorities include: 340B Drug Pricing Program, CHC Funding, Workforce, Health Equity, Emergency Preparedness, Value-Based Care, and Innovation. To learn more about each of these, please visit Policy & Advocacy | Advocates for Community Health.

ACH has a top-notch advocacy team, that works to ensure forward thinking health centers have more than just a seat at federal policy making tables, but that they are the architects and designers of the health center program and health care system of the future. We work closely with our members to shape a focused advocacy agenda that ensures our collective interests are being aggressively represented.

What makes Advocates for Community Health different from other organizations such as NACHC, PCAs, etc?

ACH is laser focused on advancing well-defined and forward thinking federal policies to drive the next generation of the Health Center Program and to transform the future of community health care in the United States. We advocate for our members based on a clear vision and smart strategy that represents our collective best thinking on the highest priorities that will underpin the advancement of community based primary health care in the 21st century. We are mission driven and member-focused with a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Every association brings a different focus, and we would expect our members to seek support and resources in whatever way they need it. Many of our members belong to multiple state and national trade associations, which we unequivocally support. 

However, based on the existing gaps and unmet needs that exist across the country’s network of health centers, the vision, strategy and work of ACH is not duplicative but rather complementary and additive to the work of other organizations. We look forward to partnering with any and all organizations that share our goals.

What role can I/will I play in decision making as a member organization?

Organizational Members have the ability to serve on our board and committees and have a voice in helping to shape our policy agenda. Our Innovation Members have the ability to serve on our committees and have input into our policy agenda. All ACH Members have the opportunity to help shape and inform the programmatic offerings designed to support and address the needs of our membership at large.

ACH conducts environmental assessments and annual membership surveys to ensure that members always have a meaningful voice in setting the direction for the advocacy work of the organization. We also encourage and seek out opportunities to engage with our members on a one-to-one basis to gather their feedback, understand needs, priorities and challenges to help inform our ongoing work and resources in support of membership.

What is ACH’s relationship with the Association of the Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU)?

ACU is an established national membership organization providing programs and services to support a network of health centers and providers caring for the underserved. By partnering with the ACU, we are able to provide enhanced benefits to our own members and leverage their successful legacy of advocating on behalf of health centers and systems as well as the individuals who work within them.

Why are there limitations on membership and how was the membership criteria determined?

In order to achieve the focused policy agenda that makes ACH unique, we are deliberate in recruiting members that represent and align with mission, policy pillars, and with the forward thinking, visionary approach of ACH as a whole. The membership criteria reflect organization standards as well as areas of innovation and achievement that we believe support and represent the mission and policy pillars of ACH. We recognize and celebrate the innovations and operational excellence visible across the health center network as a whole, while also being mindful and deliberate to bring together a focused and aligned group of members.

If my health center isn't large enough to meet membership criteria, can I still be involved? If so, how?

ACH has four membership categories, including an Innovation Membership for those health centers with less than 300 FTE and/or a budget of less than $30M. Learn more about membership types at Membership – Advocates For Community Health (ACH).

Another way to be engaged and supportive is to become a member of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU). Members of ACU will have the opportunity to provide input to ACU staff, committees and leadership which ACU can impart to ACH as members of the Board and leadership. In addition, we look forward to partnering with a diverse set of stakeholders that share common goals and priorities whether as an organization member or otherwise.

How can other state/national organizations get involved with ACH?

Without question, we are all stronger when we band together. To that end, we welcome and look forward to working with a diverse set of stakeholders that share common goals and priorities through both informal and more formal alliances. ACH has a Corporate Membership available for like-minded organizations and an Association Membership available for partnering organizations.

Do IRS rules allow my CHC to join ACH?

501(c)(3)s, including CHCs, are permitted to join 501(c)(4) organizations. Members will need to report payment of membership dues to CHC on their Form 990s. Membership dues are reported as “Other Expenses” on the Statement of Functional Expenses. We cannot advise members on whether they are required to report any portion of the payment as a lobbying expense on Schedule C of the return. Our legal counsel is available to discuss the IRS guidance on this question, if you or your counsel would like further information. 

ACH engages in lobbying activity; therefore, it is not eligible to receive federal grants, loans or awards. For that reason, members should not use Section 330 or any other federal funds to pay membership dues to ACH.

I am an individual wanting to take action for health centers. What can I do?

No one is more qualified to help guide members of Congress as they create, debate and enact health care legislation than those who deliver quality care to patients every day and those patients who are served by health centers. Please find our Grassroots Advocacy Resources to get involved and contact lawmakers, or use your platform to share your support for the Community Health Center Program.

To stay involved with ACH, please sign up for our newsletter. You can also follow ACH on social platforms including LinkedIn, X, Facebook, and YouTube.

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