Congressional Briefing Highlights how “Access is the Answer”

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– Jen Taylor, NACHC Federal Affairs staff

On Tuesday, March 18, NACHC convened a briefing on Capitol Hill to bring together Congressional staff and community partners to discuss our new policy brief, “Access is the Answer.”

The report examines the issue of access to primary care, highlighting the tremendous need that remains in America’s medically underserved communities.Panelists at the briefing underscored the report’s findings by sharing real stories of how community health centers are working to meet that need while improving health care quality and reducing overall costs.

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The briefing was an enormous success, with House and the Senate staff filling the room for a lively and thoughtful discussion led by experts from community health centers across the country.

Our all-star panelists included Teresita Batayola, CEO of International Community Health Services in Seattle, Washington; Dr. Gary Wiltz, NACHC Board Chair and Executive Director of Teche Action Board, Inc. in Louisiana; and two outstanding representatives from Central Virginia Health Services, Inc. – Executive Director Rod Manifold and Board Member and consumer, Peggy Scott. Together the group used their extensive and diverse experience to illustrate the myriad of ways community health centers are overcoming barriers to care and providing a lifeline to primary care services for millions of Americans. 

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Attendees were given a copy of the report, as well as a fact sheet that gives a clear overview of exactly who is being impacted by local shortages of primary care providers across the country. NACHC staff also laid out our 2014 legislative priorities to ensure Congressional staff were up to speed on our most pressing policy issues and understand the specific actions Congress must take this year to ensure that health centers can continue to meet the needs of our communities for years to come.

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