For information on policy and advocacy, contact:
Libby Thurman, (615) 425-5848 or
Emily Waitt, (615) 425-5849
The Health Policy and Advocacy program equips Community Health Centers with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in a dynamic policy environment.
The Tennessee Primary Care Association (TPCA) recognizes the need for policy makers at the state and federal levels to understand and support the high-quality, comprehensive care that Community Health Centers provide to patients. We connect health centers with policy makers to ensure that health centers are valued in Tennessee and in Washington D.C. We provide a voice for Community Health Centers in the state legislature by introducing legislation on their behalf, tracking policy developments, testifying at committee hearings, and educating legislators. At the federal level, we work closely with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) to monitor legislation, submit public comments on regulations, and provide information to Members of Congress. Through our Advocacy Program, we facilitate health center communication with state and federal legislators.
- Engaging on Issues -- TPCA monitors and takes action on budgetary, legislative, and regulatory issues and maintains strong relationships with partner organizations including TennCare, the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, managed care organizations, and other community groups. Below are some of our broad policy focus areas:
- Medicaid coverage
- Medicaid reimbursement
- Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
- Informing Health Centers -- TPCA ensures that health centers are engaged in policy discussions and aware of issues that could impact their health centers and patients.
- Policy Update Calls: TPCA hosts weekly policy update calls during Tennessee’s legislative session and hosts monthly calls thereafter to keep member health centers informed of legislative and regulatory developments.
- Policy Summaries: TPCA distributes written policy updates to health centers. The updates include information on state and federal policy topics, and the progress of relevant legislation and regulations.
- Annual Hill Day (Nashville) -- TPCA facilitates visits between Community Health Center leaders and legislators at the Tennessee State Capitol to advocate for policies that support the work of health centers. In 2019, we focused on Safety Net Funding, Medicaid coverage, and the treatment of Substance Use Disorders.
- Annual Capitol Hill Visits (Washington, D.C.) -- TPCA facilitates meetings between Community Health Center leaders and Tennessee’s Members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to advocate for legislation that supports the work of health centers. In 2019, we prioritized health center funding and workforce development.
- Health Center Advocacy Network -- TPCA connects health centers with the Health Center Advocacy Network, which is administered by NACHC. The network provides opportunities to conveniently and quickly take action to advocate for legislation that affects health centers.
- Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) Program -- TPCA provides support to health centers that apply to be recognized as Advocacy Centers of Excellence through NACHC. The ACE program recognizes health centers that demonstrate a commitment to advocacy and engage the whole organization in those efforts. We are proud of the Tennessee health centers that have achieved ACE designation:
- Community Health of East Tennessee
- Connectus Health
- National Health Center Week -- TPCA assists health centers with the planning and execution of events during National Health Center Week, held by NACHC. National Health Center Week provides opportunities to illustrate the value of health centers and generate support for their work.