Lone Star Circle of Care (LSCC) is working to get state lawmakers on board with supporting community health centers like ours. CEO Jon Calvin, Associate General Counsel Michael Smith, Communications Manager Ashley Wild, and Communications Coordinator Ty Bishop met with several lawmakers at the State Capitol this week to talk about the importance of health centers and how the Texas Legislature can help us during the 88th legislative session that just began.
LSCC, along with dozens of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) from all over Texas, spoke to state senators and representatives on Tuesday about the top three priorities for the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. The priorities include:
Funding the FQHC Incubator Program
- During the last legislative session, the state allocated $20 million for the FQHC Incubator Program. The money funded 35 projects across the state including the purchase of LSCC’s Big Pink Bus which provides mobile mammography services to women in Central Texas.
- The state’s continued investment in the Incubator Program would help health centers hire more staff, expand services, and fund innovative projects that improve care for patients.
Investing in Healthcare for Moms and Kids
- To decrease preventable maternal deaths in Texas, we are asking lawmakers to expand the Medicaid for Pregnant Women program to 12 months postpartum. The program currently only provides six months of continuous Medicaid postpartum.
- We highlighted the benefits of the Healthy Texas Women program, the Family Planning program, and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program. We are asking for increased funding for women’s health programs.
- Health centers are also asking lawmakers to increase funding for the Community Partner Program to get more eligible moms and kids enrolled in state programs.
Strengthening the Healthcare Workforce
- We emphasized the healthcare workforce challenges we’ve experienced and talked about the need to recruit and retain providers, medical assistants, and other frontline staff. We want the state to increase funding for provider loan repayment programs.
- Advocates are also asking the state to allow Medicaid reimbursement for behavioral health trainees to pay for licensing fees, clinical supervision, and internships.
- We are asking lawmakers to increase funding for graduate medical education in primary care and incentivize academic institutions to partner with health centers to train the primary care workforce.
LSCC will continue reaching out to our local lawmakers this year to provide support for legislation that helps achieve the goals of community health centers.