Health Center News and Happenings

March 28, 2017
The NACHC 2017 Policy and Issues Forum is about to start and we could not be more excited.  More than 2,500 Community Health Center leaders from around the country have signed up to attend this national gathering, including a record number of consumers [see media advisory]. The policy conference began today with a panel discussion […]
March 15, 2017
Today’s guest blog post is by Susan West Levine, CEO of Lowell Community Health Center in Massachusetts.  This article originally appeared in the March/April’17 issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, 512 Media, Inc. As CEO of Lowell Community Health Center (CHC), I am often asked just what a Community Health […]
The Campaign For America’s Health Centers

Blog - NACHC

March 13, 2017

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. States design and administer their Medicaid program within broad federal rules and the federal government guarantees matching funds to states for qualifying Medicaid expenditures. As a result of this shared financing structure, Medicaid acts as both a cost to states and the largest source of federal revenue in state budgets. As Congress considers legislation that would overhaul how Medicaid is structured and financed (both traditional Medicaid and Medicaid expansion), input from Governors will hold significant weight. Making the case for health centers to your governor is crucial and can influence both state and federal policy conversations.

What are Governors saying about “repeal and replace” of the ACA?

There have been mixed reactions to the House Republicans’ “repeal and replace” bill across states, even among Republican governors (who represent 33 states). Senators don’t often like to go against their own state’s governor, especially when they come from the same party. It’s likely that Senators will be listening closely to what their state’s governor would like to see and not see in the legislation as it moves along. Republican governors are likely to have significant feedback as it’s been reported they are working on a proposal that they intend to share with congressional members. Early drafts leaked to last month showed they were still in very different places from one another when it came to the Medicaid expansion program and details of proposed structural changes like a per-capita cap. However, these documents were leaked prior to legislation being officially introduced.

How can I include my Governor in my advocacy efforts?

Consider taking the following steps:

  • Connect with your State Primary Care Association (PCA) – PCAs serve as the state-level policy expert and advocacy lead for health centers. Find the PCA in your state.
  • Invite State and Local Officials to Take Action – Work with your state and local elected officials to demonstrate support for your health center by collecting letters of support that can be sent to your Governor and Members of Congress. Make sure to coordinate with your PCA to collect and present the letters.

If you have questions about recent activities in the states, please contact your state PCA or NACHC’s State Affairs team at

March 10, 2017

DennisWKruse3.JPGThe NACHC advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for March 2017­—Dennis Kruse, Chief Financial Officer at Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dennis joined Family Care Health Centers (FCHC) in 1998, after working for more than twenty years in other spaces within the health care sector. Under his tenure, FCHC has seen exponential financial growth, as well as a more than doubling of their patient population. Dennis’ commitment to the Health Center movement has grown, too, and he is not only involved with the Missouri Primary Care Association, but received NACHC’s Betsey Cooke Grassroots MVP Award in 2010, and currently sits on NACHC’s Board of Directors.

Over the last few years, as the NACHC advocacy team launched new programs and initiatives making it easier for people to take action and Health Centers to get involved, Dennis saw the opportunity to bolster advocacy efforts at FCHC. He has made a concerted effort in two main areas: communication and engagement.

The first step towards establishing a successful advocacy program at any Health Center is communication; letting people know what advocacy is and that it’s part of the organization’s culture. To that end, Dennis has implemented the following at FCHC:

-          Introduction to advocacy as part of the on-boarding process for all new employees

-          Inclusion of language about advocacy as a priority in FCHC’s personnel policies

-          Incorporation of advocacy as a standing agenda item at all board meetings and quarterly all-staff meetings

-          Creation of a social media footprint with the launch of a Facebook page

Once a solid foundation in advocacy was established, Dennis moved to activate and engage FCHC staff and the community. More important than names on a list are motivated advocates who will take action when needed. Dennis empowers FCHC advocates and provides ways for them to get involved in the advocacy process, including:

-          Regular communication to the staff and board about current issues impacting Health Centers

-          Reinforcing NACHC’s message on urgent calls to action and challenging staff to respond

-          Participation in Legislative Days in Jefferson City, MO on state issues

-          Hosting Members of Congress and their staff at FCHC

What has resulted from Dennis’ efforts to take advocacy to the next level has been nothing short of overwhelming success. With a staff and board that feel educated on Health Center issues and empowered to respond to calls to action, FCHC has achieved a more than 20% response rate on recent action items (for context, the industry standard for a health-related national alerts is a 3-5% response). With all of these pieces in place, it was a no-brainer for Dennis to submit an application for ACE status; FCHC is currently at the Silver tier, working their way towards Gold!

The advocacy program that Dennis has worked tirelessly to implement at FCHC can be replicated at any Health Center. However, as Dennis has demonstrated, it requires time, tenacity, and dedication to building a solid foundation in order to achieve success over time. Advocacy excellence doesn’t happen overnight.

FCHC CEO Bob Massie says of Dennis, “[an] important factor in Family Care’s success in advocacy is buy-in and support from leadership which is provided by our CFO, Dennis Kruse. He has been an enthusiastic and driven advocate both within the health center, including staff and Board, and outside the health center in other health centers, associations, and [our] residency training affiliate.”

Kudos, Dennis, and thank you for all that you do to drive effective advocacy at FCHC and across the nation!


Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at

Health Centers on the Hill

March 27, 2017
What a week it was last week. Even as our staff here at NACHC has been pulling together the finishing touches for the 2017 Policy and Issues Forum (sure to be our best yet, by the way) last week was a roller coaster in terms of the future of major health reform legislation that was […]
March 7, 2017
Last night around 6pm, the Congressional effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act entered a new phase, as House Republicans released the draft legislative text of their proposal. The legislation will be considered this week by the two primary committees with jurisdiction over health care – the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and […]
The Policy Shop

March 20, 2017
Just after her Senate confirmation as Administrator of the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS), Seema Verma joined HHS Secretary Tom Price in a letter to governors on their commitment to work together to improve the Medicaid program.   The letter states that the federal framework for Medicaid has not “kept pace with emerging evidence around the […]
March 14, 2017
While it is unclear what changes Congress may make to the Medicaid program, even without further Congressional action, changes are coming to Medicaid.  The recent Senate confirmations of Health and Human Services Representative Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services and Seema Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services […]