The end of the month of March marked a successful launch of the Access is the Answer petition campaign with thousands of advocates at hundreds of Health Centers across the nation rising to the challenge and collecting a total of 87,307 signatures! We are proud to recognize the 67 Health Centers that smashed the goal of collecting 500 signatures per center with Westside Family Healthcare in Delaware (4,500 signatures), Nuestra Clinica del Valle in Texas (4,470), and Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado (3,783) rounding out the top three spots. A full list of the 67 HC’s that achieved their March collection goal can be found at http://www.saveourchcs.org/Petition_Signers.cfm
Randy Hylton, Director of Communications at Peak Vista Community Health Centers, noted that this was a truly collaborative effort “made possible by the commitment of the entire staff, engaged community members, neighbors, and patients.”
Many Health Centers employed creative means to get their message out and round-up signatures. “We created fliers at reception that would capture our patients attention. (Another) key factor was our receptionists who had clipboards at the ready,” said Hylton. Employees at Peak Vista were also given information cards that explained the coming health center funding cliff which the petition asks Congress to address as well as petition sheets that they shared “with friends and community members (while) others attended community events and collected signatures,” Hylton noted.
At Nuestra Clinic De Valle, Outreach Director Christian Muñoz noted that advocates made a conscious effort to ensure that petition signers knew about the challenges facing Health Centers. “Starting right at the door with our medical greeters, through the front line staff, we read the petition to (our patients) because we wanted them to be informed about the local and national issues that affect them,” said Muñoz. “It was not simply about signatures. It was about having our patients involved in their Health Center and knowing about what’s going on .”
Each advocate who signed the Access is the Answer petition took an important step in making the case for health centers and helped elevate the urgent need for the President and Congress to address the health centers funding cliff. The Access is the Answer petition was the first step in an ongoing advocacy campaign to make the case for health centers! Advocates can and should continue to collect Access is the Answer petition signatures at their Health Centers and in their community. If your Health Center did not collect 500 signatures in March, try setting your own collection goal for April and May! Every signature helps, and you can report your numbers anytime on our website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocates should be prepared to begin efforts on the next phase of the Access is the Answer Campaign – the collection of local support letters from local elected officials and community leaders. To learn more, visit the Access is the Answer section of the Campaign for America’s Health Centers website.