FACHC Legislative & Health Policy Advocacy
Find Your Legislator
The Florida Legislature provides a easy to use tool to help you find your local Senator and Representative.
Advocacy & Information
NACHC's Campaign for Community Health Centers will provide a way for every health center, every patient and every community that has or needs a health center to step up for health centers - to ACT NOW to preserve, strengthen and expand America’s Health Centers. The Campaign’s objectives are simple and straightforward:
- To restore the annual federal funding for Health Centers to a level that will ensure the entire Health Center Trust Fund can be used for its intended purpose – serving more people in need, and
- To preserve the vital Medicaid program and ensure that America’s Health Centers are adequately reimbursed.
Spread the Word
Legislative Advocacy - It Never Ends!
Key 1: Know your legislators/congressional officials
Knowing legislators and legislative staff personally is the first step to getting an audience and being able to share your position or issue. If you have not met your member or their legislative staffer, set up a meeting and introduce yourself and your health center. The legislator needs to know what your center does for their constituents. Urge them to visit your health center. NOW is the time to educate them and they will remember you and your center. Try to establish a friendly relationship by finding common friends or interests.
Key 2: Be a source of reliable information
The goal is to build credibility with your legislators so that they come looking for you when they need information. Specific knowledge about your district is essential if you are to be of any assistance to your representative and senator. The information you provide must be:
- Understandable -- Remember that your legislator may not have the same background in health care that you do.
- Accurate – It is perfectly fine not to know the answer to a question. Tell them you will find out as soon as possible and always follow through. Do not leave them hanging.
- Persuasive -- Always break your proposals down to how they will positively affect their constituents. The bottom line is that legislators need to be convinced that your issues matter to them and their constituents.
Key 3: Make your legislator/congressional official an expert
Do not assume that just because legislators grew up in your area that they know how you would like them to vote on every issue. Give legislators tours of your center(s) often, at least on an annual basis. Invite them to health center events, and make sure their offices are on the mailing list for your health center's newsletter. They will not be able to attend every function, but the more time they spend with you and your staff, the more likely they are to support your cause.
Key 4: Timing is everything - know the process
You need to know when to strike -- when lawmakers are voting in committee or when you need their vote on the floor. Knowing the process makes it easier for you to target your contacts and make your voice heard. FACHC will keep you apprised of any health center related issue, but you must be ready to respond immediately. Things happen very fast and often there is an absolute immediate response required. Designate a legislative liaison if possible. If you can rope in board members that can help with legislative efforts… use those board members.
Key 5: Ask how they will vote... and hold them accountable
All of your hard work goes for nothing if you do not follow through when the final votes are counted. In your contacts with legislators, be sure to ask how they intend to vote on specific bills. If they do not intend to vote your way, continue to build your relationship and share information that may sway their opinion or be willing to compromise rather than lose the issue completely. If you cannot, do not worry; there is always a next time. This week's opposition is often next week's comrade. Be advised, if we lose the vote in House, we may be able to win it in the Senate.
Legislators know the importance of health care to their constituents, and want to do the right thing for the people in their district. It is up to you to help them decide what that is by building the credibility of your organization.
National Health Center Week Activities & Ideas Aug 5-11, 2012
Visit the National Health Center Week Website and get prepared for the upcoming events!
Each year the second week in August is dedicated to celebrating the services and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers. While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s Health Centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.
This year, please join us in Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Powering Healthier Communities during National Health Center Week 2012, August 5th-11th.
Click Here to View National Conference of State Legislators' Video for Legislators & Policy Makers About FQHCs