Given their size and scope, and the significant role they play in medically underserved communities across the nation, community health centers have become enormously consequential to the health of thousands of communities. For this reason, it is important to understand the implications of major policy changes that would affect community health centers and the patients and communities they serve. It is also important to evaluate the impact of those changes and use the results to inform policy.
The Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative has a long history of partnering with a wide array of funders and organizations to produce clear and actionable policy analyses. Our research and analysis has been undertaken in close collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). This collaboration has included joint surveys, presentations at NACHC meetings, special projects designed to provide information about emerging issues in health policy affecting health centers, and frequent consultation with senior NACHC staff regarding the major issues in health policy and practice faced by health centers.
Working with state and regional primary care associations and health center practice networks, program experts have analyzed the potential effects on health centers and communities of important shifts in policy such as Medicaid reforms affecting eligibility or delivery of health care. Working with the Kaiser Family Foundation for more than 2 decades, the program has chronicled the impact of a changing policy landscape on community health centers, from community health center expansion under President George W. Bush to enactment of the Affordable Care Act and its remarkable impact on the nation’s poorest communities, where health centers serve. In recent years, this collaboration has been at the forefront of chronicling the role of community health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Episcopal Health Foundation, program experts have assessed the role of community health centers in that state’s managed care transformation, and our expertise in health care in medically underserved communities has led to a robust and ongoing program of awards from other leading national funders, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund.