Institute Staff join CHCANYS Virtual Advocacy Week to #valueCHCs

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Sophia Guida

Institute Staff join CHCANYS Virtual Advocacy Week to #valueCHCs

March 31, 2021

From March 8-12, Institute staff members participated in the annual advocacy outreach to elected state representatives led by the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS). Rather than visit Albany in person as in years past, Institute advocates spent the week meeting with representatives and their staff members virtually to talk about state budget priorities and discuss the importance of community health centers. Twenty-four Institute staff members met with 17 elected officials in the State Senate and Assembly, joining other health centers from across the state in connecting with legislators.

Advocates discussed budget priorities important to helping fulfill our mission of providing affordable and accessible care to our communities. The 340B pharmacy benefit carve-out was an important issue this year, given the fiscal impacts on all safety-net institutions, including our own, and the impact it would have on patients ability to access medications. Advocates also talked about how providers have utilized telehealth to connect with their patients since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of maintaining pay parity for these visits. Advocates also requested that funding for Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Diagnostic & Treatment Safety Net Pool, and School Based Health Centers be maintained and that funding be restored to the Doctors Across New York and the Health Homes program, both of which provide important services to the community.

Underscoring all of the talks was the enormous roles that community health centers continue to play in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and how our providers have been on the front lines of treatment, outreach, testing, and now vaccinations, while continuing to provide quality care to patients. The Institute for Family Health is grateful to our representatives for taking the time to hear about the life-saving services community health centers provide.

We would like to thank the following representatives for making the time to meet with us: New York State Assembly Members Kenny Burgos (District 85), Didi Barrett (District 106), Inez Dickens (District 70), Jo Anne Simon (District 52), Victor Pichardo (District 86), Melissa Miller (District 20), Harvey Epstein (District 74), Daniel O’Donnell (District 69), Yuh-Line Niou (District 65), and Kevin Cahill (District 103); and New York State Senators Brian Kavanaugh (District 26), Brian Benjamin (District 30), Michelle Hinchey (District 46), Sue Serino (District 41), José M. Serrano (District 29), Brad Hoylman (District 27), and Luis Sepúlveda (District 32).