The Community Health Center Movement was born out of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. It was clear that any effort at justice and economic stability for individuals and families needed to include affordable and accessible local healthcare.

For 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 strive for health equity, while identifying ways to increase efficiency, improve quality of care, and seek innovations in care delivery. They are also a vital 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 Community Health Centers work to find cross-sector opportunities to also address these issues. This approach informs our 2021 state and federal policy priorities.

State Goals

  • Involve the statewide Community Health Center Network in state level planning on COVID-19 response, especially implementation of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Encourage policy solutions that expand access to dental care in Medicaid, especially for adults.
  • 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.
  • Engage with DHHS and other stakeholders to redesign health home models and support development of payment mechanisms that support more sustainable care delivery and assure long term availability and access for patients.

Federal Policy Initiatives

  • COVID-19: Because CHCs are the safety net providers for rural and underserved communities, we are working to assure that the voice of CHCs, on behalf of their patients, is front and center of all pandemic conversations - from testing and vaccine distribution to planning for future events, based on lessons learned in 2020.
  • Medicare: Monitor and act on any policy recommendations regarding reimbursement for telehealth and national efforts to add a dental benefit to the program.
  • Support efforts to protect and expand access to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Identify opportunities to minimize impact of HPSA modernization project on Maine’s CHCs.
  • Medicaid: Monitor and address programmatic changes, such as block grants.
  • Advocate for thorough review of impact on patients of regulatory changes to programs such as 340B.

Policy Contacts:
Darcy Shargo, Chief Executive Officer

Bryan Wyatt, Director of Policy & Communications

Hannah Hudson, Policy & Communications Manager