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Washington DC

Every year in March, I attend the National Association for Community Health Centers (NACHC) conference in Washington, DC. Usually one of Katy Trail Community Health Board Members attends with me. This year, Board Member Angela Saran and staff member Chele Trammell joined me.

We combine our conference attendance with meetings with our congressional delegation to discuss the importance of Community Health Centers and specifically the work... we do at each of our centers.

This year, we met with Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Blunt, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver. Our meetings were very positive with all elected officials declaring their support for our work.

We arrived only a week after the House pulled the American Health Care Act, so the Capital was all abuzz about it. We were grateful it was pulled because the impact on our patients would have been catastrophic. We recognize there are issues with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and we hope Community Health Centers will contribute to improving the legislation.

I am in awe when I go to Washington, DC. I feel the power of our democracy and I am humbled by the work of our elected officials and career public servants, a couple of whom spoke at our conference. Jim McCrae, interim administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration challenged us to adopt practices that improve patient outcomes and create even more efficiencies. Dr. Luis Padilla, associate director of the Bureau of Health Workforce asked us to be creative partners as we solve the primary care provider shortages nationwide.

I always come back from Washington, DC with a renewed commitment to our organization. I come back with new ideas about how we can improve, based on best practices other health centers have developed. Mostly, I come back with a greater appreciation for our board and staff, who have dedicated their time and talents to improving our communities.

A bonus from this year was the Cherry Blossoms. They were in full bloom this year and Angela, Chele and I were able to take some time walking along the Tidal Basin where the rows of trees were a remarkable sight. Thanks to Angela Saran and Chele Trammell for joining me this year!

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