Policy and Advocacy - Testimony

Good morning Chairman Gray and distinguished members of the committee.  My name is Eric Vicks, Associate Director Advocacy and Public Policy for the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA.) We work to build a healthier DC by strengthening safety net community-based primary care. Our partners in this work include community health centers and FQHCs who serve 1 in 4 District residents in every ward of the District. Today I am here to provide testimony on the budget oversight of the DC Department of Health.

 

Chairman Gray, DCPCA and our partners in the DC PACT (Positive Accountable Community Transformation) have begun the work to build a health network that consistently and systematically identifies and addresses the unmet social needs of patients. DC PACT seeks to maximize resources and collaboration between clinical delivery sites and community service providers to eliminate duplication and close gaps utilizing HIE. Our efforts will expand the capacity of all partners to function as a seamless accountable health community over time and across sites of care through increased cross-sector collaboration. The primary goals of DC PACT are to improve health outcomes and increase health equity.

Director Nesbitt has a track record of supporting innovations which can be studied in practice and then expanded to our larger Medicaid populations. These innovations have included the incorporation of Community Health Workers into its engagement programs. The Joyful Food Markets are also a promising idea for our residents facing food insecurity in Wards 7 and 8. DCPCA recognizes programs that connect clinical care and social services to address social determinants of health (SDOH) have significant impact on the overall wellness on a patient far beyond the impact of health care alone.  We applaud Dr. Nesbitt and her willingness to prioritize the connections between SDOH and clinical care. We would like to see these initiatives scaled for all of D.C.

Recommendation: Increased funding available for the Office of Health Equity to support SDOH: clinical linkages

 

Since the election, the nation has awaited the promised changes to the healthcare landscape including what many believe to be the return to days of a high number of uninsured patients. The District has made a commitment to healthcare for all; in areas of access and quality. The District’s community health centers are the front line of health care for over 200,000 residents; the first choice for many and for some, the providers of last resort.   Continued support of community health centers to ensure that the District’s safety-net system will be ready and able to respond as necessary to meet the District’s needs. Our partnership with DOH has facilitated Technical Assistance and Quality Improvement initiatives across our membership and continues to prepare community health centers for today’s challenges and those to come.

Recommendation: Continue to support DOH programming which facilitates T/A and QI for community health centers and primary care providers.

 

We thank you for the opportunity to testify, and for your work and partnership in building a healthier DC. I am happy to answer any questions now or going forward.