Legislation and policymaking at the federal level significantly impact community health centers, especially in the areas of funding and program development. That’s why CHAD’s policy team works closely with its member health centers and health care partners across the Dakotas to develop policy priorities and convey those priorities to Congressional leaders and their staff. CHAD connects on a regular basis with Congressional members and their offices to keep them apprised of issues impacting CHCs and their patients and to encourage them to take action on key health care legislation and policies.
 

 

In order to continue their important work and mission, community health centers need
long-term federal funding stability, a strong Medicaid program, resources for
expanding access to behavioral health services, and support for health
center utilization of telehealth services.

 

 

Support Community Health Center Funding

Federal CHC funding currently comes from two sources: $1.6 billion in annual discretionary appropriations and the Community Health Center Fund, which was recently extended by a continuing resolution through December 2019 ($4.0 billion in FY19). 

      • Support FY19 appropriations for health centers by signing the Bilirakis-Green letter in the House
        and the Wicker-Stabenow letter in the Senate.
      • Build upon the investments of the February 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act to provide long-term
        funding stability and reduce the uncertainty caused by year-to-year renewals.

Protect Federal Support for Medicaid

Health centers and Medicaid work together to provide coverage and access to care for some of our most vulnerable Dakotans. CHCs in North Dakota and South Dakota served more than 30,000 Medicaid patients in 2018, making up more than half of all patient-related revenues. 

  • Preserve the CHC Prospective Payment System (PPS) rate within a strong Medicaid program to ensure that federal grant dollars are used to provide care for the uninsured rather than to subsidize low Medicaid payments.  
  • Ensure that any state and federal policy changes protect coverage and access to care for patients and take into account the statutory requirements placed on CHCs and the unique needs of their patients.

Fund Behavioral Health Services

CHCs are breaking down barriers to care and expanding capacity to deliver behavioral health services in response to the increased prevalence of substance use disorders. CHCs are on the front lines of expanding behavioral health services and enhancing service offerings to include integration into primary care, brief intervention, and medication assisted treatment. 

      • Direct federal substance use disorder prevention and treatment funding  
        opportunities to CHCs. 
      • Support a strong Medicaid program – Medicaid is the largest payer of  
        behavioral health services and a critical source of health insurance  
        coverage for patients.  
      • Expand the list of approved reimbursable behavioral health providers  
        under Medicare to build CHC workforce and service capacity. 

Expand CHC Telehealth Opportunities

Health centers are increasingly using telehealth to meet their patients’ needs better and overcome workforce shortages, especially in rural areas. In the Dakotas, CHCs are implementing innovative ways to use telehealth technologies to expand access to quality health care services. 

      • Co-sponsor the CONNECT for Health Act of 2019 allowing Medicare to recognize CHCs 
        as distant and originating sites for reimbursement eligibility. Currently, CHCs are only  
        eligible to receive Medicare reimbursement as an originating site, where the patient is  
        located, and not as a distant site, where the provider is located. 

Resources
Policy Paper - North Dakota
Policy Paper - South Dakota
NACHC's Congressional Calendar