Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, striking an island that had already been hit by Hurricane Irma just weeks before, and causing widespread devastation. Six months later, the island is still recovering, and adjusting to what has become a new normal. Throughout the crisis, Puerto Rico’s twenty Community Health Centers have rallied, together with the Primary Care Association, to serve as essential first responders and provide first-class care under extraordinary circumstances. The Puerto Rico experience was the theme of the closing general session at the NACHC Policy and Issues Forum, highlighting the resilience and collaboration of our nation’s health centers in times of crisis. Said RCHN CHF President and CEO Feygele Jacobs, who moderated the closing panel, “Hurricanes are powerful, but the force of community health centers is powerful, too.”

Read the full story here.

RCHN CHF President & CEO Dr. Feygele Jacobs moderating the Resilience and Recovery panel (Image: Ralph Alswang)


Community Health Centers: Growing Importance in a Changing Health Care System

The Kaiser Family Foundation and our colleagues in the Geiger Gibson program have released, “Community Health Centers: Growing Importance in a Changing Health Care System.” The study, by Kaiser’s Jennifer Tolbert and Julia Zur, and GW researchers Sara Rosenbaum, Jessica Sharac, Peter Shin, and Rachel Gunsalus draws on federal health center data from 2016 and the Health Center Patient Survey from 2009 and 2014, to describe community health centers and their patients in 2016 and examine changes in both access to care and utilization following implementation of the 2014 ACA coverage expansions. The key findings show that community health centers are an important source of primary care for Medicaid recipients and uninsured people. The majority of health center revenue comes from Medicaid and Federal Section 330 grant funds; Medicaid accounts for 43% of total health center revenue and federal grants for 19%. Furthermore, health centers in Medicaid expansion states have greater operational capacity and serve more patients than those in non-expansion states. Because CHCs in expansion states report higher revenue, they are able to serve more people, provide more visits, employ more staff and offer a broader range of services than those in non-expansion states. Following implementation of the ACA coverage expansions, the ability of health center patients to access needed care improved, with fewer people reporting barriers to access. Finally, utilization of certain preventive services, including preventive dental exams, increased.

The authors conclude that to maintain both access and quality, it is essential to stabilize health center funding and prevent future funding cliffs. Along with stable funding for health centers, maintaining coverage gains through Medicaid expansion and the Marketplaces is critical to ensuring that patients in medically underserved communities can access the care they need.

Additional funding support for this study was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.

The brief is available on the KFF site.


NACHC Policy and Issues Forum 2018

This year’s National Association of Community Health Centers Policy and Issues Forum (NACHC P&I) was the first gathering of community health leaders since Congress approved $7.8 billion dollars for the Community Health Center Fund in a bipartisan budget deal, last month. We visited Capitol Hill with a delegation from the Community Health Care Association of New York State to meet with Senator Schumer and thank him for his leadership in restoring CHC funding. While the health center funding cliff is fixed for now, there is much work to be done. Community health centers need long-term, stable funding, and support from our congressional representatives to secure essential services for the future. We’re grateful to our NACHC and PCA colleagues for leading the charge to ensure that community health centers can continue to provide comprehensive, high quality care to underserved communities, and are proud to join in the collective advocacy efforts to make the case for America’s health centers.

RCHN CHF staff Irene V. Bruce (L) and Nela Abey (R) on Capitol Hill. Nela’s first time! (Image: RCHN CHF)


Emerging Leader Awards 2018

Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health honors young professionals currently working in the field of community health. Community health centers and primary care associations nominate dedicated young public health professionals who exemplify the mission and vision of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers for community health and human rights and founding fathers of our nation’s community health centers.

This year, 13 Emerging Leaders from all over the country were recognized at an award ceremony held March 17 during the National Association of Community Health Centers 2018 Policy and Issues Forum in Washington, DC.

“The Emerging Leader Award is designed to highlight and share the accomplishments of exceptional young members of the community health center movement,” said Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and founder of the Geiger Gibson Program at the Milken Institute SPH. “This year’s winners represent the next generation of leaders who are advancing the core mission of community health centers.”

Our national press release lists the accomplished, talented colleagues recognized in 2018 and you may view it here.

Emerging Leader Award recipients and Geiger-Gibson program Distinguished Visitors with Sara Rosenbaum, Thomas Van Coverden and Feygele Jacobs (Image: Ralph Alswang)


From the Field: Mariposa Community Health Center Comer Bien (Eat Well) Project (Nogalez, AZ)

“Patients with uncontrolled diabetes often have multiple social determinants and comorbidities that must be addressed so they have the ability and feel well enough to participate in health education activities. The use of care coordination to connect them to needed services and CHW home visitation to assess their environment, social support and ability to store and prepare food will also help get these patients over the hump.”