Support CHAD
Policy Priorities

CHAD tracks closely policy and legislative updates, changes and issues at both the federal and state levels and works with Congressional and state officials to ensure that community health centers and their patients are represented throughout the legislative and policy making process.

At the core of CHC policy priorities is protecting access to quality health care for all Dakotans, especially the rural, uninsured and underserved populations. Another core priority is ensuring health coverage for all to foster healthy communities and sustain the overall operations and growth of health centers across the Dakotas.

Federal Advocacy

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.

Federal Policy Priorities

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.

North Dakota Advocacy

Supporting the work and mission of community health centers and protecting access to health care for all North Dakotans are principles at the center of CHAD’s advocacy efforts. Our team works closely with member health centers and health care partners across North Dakota to monitor legislation, develop policy priorities, and engage lawmakers and other state and local officials. CHAD is committed to ensuring that CHCs and their patients are represented throughout the policymaking process.

North Dakota Policy Priorities

North Dakota’s legislature meets every two years in Bismarck. During the 2021 legislative session, CHAD is working to promote policy priorities for community health centers and their patients. Those priorities include support for the continuation of Medicaid Expansion, increasing medical workforce capacity, and expanding dental benefits and primary care management reform.

South Dakota Advocacy

Supporting the work and mission of community health centers and protecting access to health care for all South Dakotans are principles at the center of CHAD’s advocacy efforts. Our team works closely with member health centers and health care partners across South Dakota to monitor legislation, develop policy priorities, and engage lawmakers and other state and local officials. CHAD is committed to ensuring that CHCs and their patients are represented throughout the policymaking process.

South Dakota Policy Priorities

South Dakota’s legislature meets annually in Pierre. The 2021 legislative session will begin on January 12, 2021. During the session, CHAD will monitor health care-related legislation while supporting and promoting three key policy priorities:

Medicaid Expansion in South Dakota

Workforce – Student Loan Repayment

  • Increase funding for the Recruitment Assistance Program by directing the Department of Health to apply for up to $1 million
  • federal matching dollars when they become available in 2022 and giving them the authority to use state funds to provide the
    local match. This could double the reach and impact of the program.
  • Allow automatic qualification for the program for CHCs and increase the size of communities eligible for recruitment support;
  • Reconsider the level of community matching funds required. For many communities they are currently out of reach.
  • Increase the slots for Advanced Practice Providers; and,
  • Consider adding certain behavioral health positions given the shortages the state faces in those areas.

Workforce – Optimal Team Practice Legislation giving Physician’s Assistants more flexibility to practice in our state.