Community Health Day on the Hill Brings Community Health Center Priorities to Iowa Lawmakers

February 14, 2020

If you have been following our social media feeds in recent days, you have seen that Tuesday, February 11th, was our annual Community Health Day on the Hill. After weeks of planning, Iowa PCA staff and CEOs and representatives from our health centers all over the state convened at the Iowa State Capitol to meet with legislators and discuss our priorities for the 2020 session. In all, we met with Governor Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, and over 50 legislators, including leadership in the Iowa House and Senate. We also had the opportunity to host a panel discussion with representatives from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME), and the Department of Human Services (DHS).

These meetings, and the one day that brings them all together, matter for a number of reasons. To start, they give Iowa’s community health centers recognition and a voice to the underserved communities they serve. Meeting a CEO and staff person from community health centers provides an opportunity for legislators to learn more about the work happening in their district, a chance to make plans for future visits, conversations around healthcare issues, and a chance to advocate for the patients and communities we serve. As more legislators see firsthand what we do, the voice we have at the Capitol grows louder. The same principle holds for leaders in the House and Senate, who may hear from us more often but rarely see all of our CEOs at the same time, representing the breadth of community health center services across the state and the hundreds of thousands of Iowans they serve.

Governor Reynolds has been a strong ally of Iowa’s community health centers, so we were happy to have a chance to sit down with her and Lieutenant Governor Gregg. We look forward to working with the administration to transformation the healthcare delivery system in Iowa, particularly around rural access, maternal health, and behavioral health.

The panel with department representatives from DHS, IME, and IDPH allowed our advocates a chance to hear about priorities of the departments, how community health centers can play a role, and participate in a discussion around behavioral health. Our community health centers are dedicated to improving care in Iowa, and so are these departments. Hearing about their priorities for the coming year can help the community health centers set some of their own priorities, and they give the Iowa PCA a chance to do the same.

We are proud of the relationships we built and strengthened during our Community Health Day on the Hill and look forward to continuing to work towards accomplishing our legislative goals.