5 Takeaways from the NACHC 2021 Policy & Issues Forum

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The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), founded in 1971, celebrates community care providers each year with their Policy & Issues (P&I) Forum. This year the event was held virtually on March 14 through 18. The event is always billed as the largest gathering of executive directors, clinicians, regional and state primary care partners, advocates, and board members in the community. This blog will highlight some of the takeaways from the event this year.

NACHC P&I Forum, 2021

The NACHC P&I Forum brought together thousands from community health centers around the country. The forum focused on government and policy to help these vital organizations succeed along with current healthcare topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the sessions this year included:

  • Supporting Special Populations During COVID-19
  • Federal and State Policy Analysis
  • Continuing to Govern During the Pandemic: Considerations for Health Center Boards
  • No Going Back: State and Federal Telehealth Landscape in 2021 and Beyond
  • A Year of Opportunities and Challenges: Briefing from the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD)
  • A Movement is Not a Moment: Strengthening the Capacity of Grassroots Advocates

As in past years, the conference allowed attendees to lobby their legislators to discuss issues in a virtual appointment setting. It’s an opportunity to educate the United States Congress and Senate on the importance of community healthcare to the areas we serve. It’s a great way to bring rural and community healthcare top of mind and share issues like funding and support with the people that represent us.

On the first day of the conference, March 14, the Board Member Boot camp kicked things off. The workshop is always particularly helpful for new board members not yet familiar with all the nuances of community health care and the important role our centers play. This year the Board Member Boot Camp covered the roles and responsibilities of board members as well as their legal duties as defined under policy laws. There was even a deep dive into financial and quality oversight along with an introduction to advocacy. Finally, attendees were taught where to access additional resources for their community healthcare organizations.

The NACHC P&I Forum also kicked off the Grassroots Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP) that runs through September of this year. It’s an intensive hands-on training that prepares organizers as health center advocates. It’s critical training because health centers encounter a variety of challenges at the regional, state, and federal levels, both politically and from a public relations perspective. The NACHC Grassroots Advocacy Leadership Program takes clinicians, Primary Care Association (PCA) staff, board members, and even patients and turns them into educational advocates for community health.

The kick-off ran a half-day on March 12, focusing on health center advocacy and the dos and don’ts of working with elected officials. Through September, these fledgling activists will attend four monthly educational webinars that cover everything from healthcare funding to how to use social media for health center advocacy, voter registration, and more.

UHC Solutions is a proud supporter of the NACHC and looks forward to next year’s conference. Talk with our team about how we can help your organization by supporting your hiring goals.

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