ACCESS ALL-STARS BLOG: ARIZONA
On an ongoing basis, the CFAHC blog will feature Access All-Stars from each state who exemplify stellar advocacy action and commitment to grassroots advocacy efforts as part of the Access is the Answer Campaign. This week, we learn about the excellent work of our All-Stars from the state of Arizona. The advocates listed below played a crucial role in the effort to fix the cliff by providing advocacy leadership in their communities and effectively communicating the value of Health Centers to lawmakers and beyond.
Arizona’s Access All-Stars:
North Country HealthCare ramped up efforts on Access is the Answer by far surpassing NACHC’s initial goal of 500 petition signatures, and collecting nearly 800 signatures from staff, patients, and other Health Center advocates! Each person who supported the petition and committed to Health Centers by signing helped make passage of HR 2 and continued funding for the next two years a reality!
Desert Senita Community Health Center consistently worked hard to engage their staff and collected letters from many of their employees that were then sent to Members of Congress, explaining the local impact the Health Center Funding Cliff would have had both on Desert Senita’s operations, as well as the lives of its employees. Telling the story of how the cliff would have negatively impacting local communities was a crucial part of getting the cliff fixed.
Marana Health Center engaged a third constituency in the Access is the Answer campaign: their Board of Directors. Marana’s board composed a letter to their Members of Congress asking them to take action. The letter highlighted the services provided by Marana to the community, detailed cost savings afforded by Health Centers to the entire health care system, and the impact the cliff would have had in terms of site closures and patients who would lose access to care. Health Centers are local economic engines, and as such, Members of Congress need to hear from those who govern and oversee our Health Centers!
Sun Life Family Health Center contributed to the Access is the Answer campaign by having their board sign a letter, collecting over 100 petition signatures, and took the campaign a step farther by reaching out to the community at large. Sun Life collected local support letters from other groups and organizations that spoke to the value the Health Center brings to the community, and not just in terms of direct services provided. Health Centers enrich communities and reinvest money into the local economy, and part of painting the picture of why Health Centers are a worthwhile investment and need continued funding is hearing from partners who work with Health Centers in a business capacity or are like-minded in terms of mission and can work together to build healthier communities.
It is worth noting that the four Health Centers highlighted above focused in on different Access is the Answer action items that they felt they could execute most successfully and that worked in their communities- the result was a variety of constituencies being successfully engaged across the state. The chorus of support in hearing from multiple stakeholders in the Health Center movement is what ultimately led to success in getting the cliff fixed for the next two years! Thank you North Country, Desert Senita, Marana, and Sun Life for your advocacy efforts!