For over 40 years, MPCA has been an active participant in health policy and quality improvement initiatives that enhance access to affordable and high-quality health care for all. MPCA and its health center members are available to provide subject matter expertise and stories of Maine citizens impacted by the challenging health care issues of the day.
As the largest primary care network in Maine, Community Health Centers (CHCs) strive for health equity, while identifying ways to increase efficiency, improve quality of care, and seek innovations in care delivery. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s CHCs utilized their skills and resources and proved themselves to be vital to state and local efforts to combat the virus and its devastating effects.
CHCs are also an important factor in rural economic development; they provide local jobs, spur local spending, and support local health care access and availability - all of which are critical to robust communities. Community health is not just about health care; as providers of integrated care, Community Health Centers are keenly aware that social determinants of health (SDOH) such as inadequate food, housing, employment, and health care coverage, have a significant impact on patient and community wellness.
As a result, Maine’s CHCs also work to find cross-sector opportunities to address these issues. This approach informs our 2022 state and federal policy priorities.
- Involve the Community Health Center Network in state level planning on COVID-19 response, especially vaccine distribution and testing.
- Take a leadership role in directing care transformation and re-design efforts.
- Expand Mainer’s rights to health care coverage and access.
- Support development of healthy people and healthy communities.
State Policy Initiatives
- Advocate for health center considerations in state level planning on COVID-19 response, including, but not limited to, implementation of vaccination strategy and sharing best practices.
- Demonstrate the unique attributes of CHCs and emphasize the need for investment in a robust primary care system, as the state works to implement Primary Care Plus, a new value-based approach to MaineCare payment for primary care services.
- Pursue adjustments to Medicaid PPS that allow health centers to build infrastructure to respond to ongoing and emerging needs and to remain viable post-pandemic.
- Advance research and legislation to create a statewide strategy to build primary care workforce through improved recruitment and retention of staff.
- Participate in efforts to expand the integration of Community Health Workers in the health care system by advocating for reimbursement for services.
- Position CHCs as leaders in the state on issues of equity and access in primary care.
- Promote understanding of how the patient-centered approach utilized by CHCs is a unique and valuable component of health care in Maine.
Federal Policy Initiatives
- Continue advocacy to ensure the inclusion of CHCs in all pandemic conversations (testing, vaccine distribution, etc.)
- Monitor and act on policy recommendations to support continued Medicare reimbursement for telehealth after the public health emergency and to add dental and vision benefits to the Medicare program.
- Support efforts to preserve and expand the Affordable Care Act where necessary.
- Advocate for 340B protections for CHCs through legislative action.
Darcy Shargo, Chief Executive Officer
Bryan Wyatt, Director of Policy & Communications
Hannah Hudson, Policy & Communications Manager