A Check-in with Dr. Kyu
November 2023 – A moment of Gratitude
“I still believe the core of health care is a patient and a provider.”
I am so humbled and excited to be back to my nonprofit Community Health Center roots as the CEO of National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), working alongside over 300K clinicians and staff who deliver high-quality, affordable, transdisciplinary primary care and health equity for over 31.5 million Americans at over 15K sites across our nation.
Since starting with NACHC in mid-August, I set a goal to travel our nation and visit as many health centers as possible. So far I’ve visited 23 health centers and met with 30 Primary Care Associations (PCAs) and PCA leaders.
I am in awe of the leaders I have met along the way and am so pleased to be making connections that will lead us into the future – maximizing our impact and making positive change, together.
We are stronger together
What I have learned on the road is health centers may all look different on the outside, but they all share a commitment to equity and mission. Health centers are not only the best part of our health system, but they are also the most innovative, diverse, and resilient in their approach to primary care. It’s not just about building trust and acting locally, they also reach beyond the walls of the exam room to improve the health and well-being of underserved communities and empower people to become actively involved in solving issues unique to their needs and communities.
Sustaining this work is critical. NACHC is leading the push among health center advocates across the country for bipartisan legislation to address the pending expiration of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) and key primary care workforce programs. Recently, with deadlines looming and conversations continuing, the fiscal uncertainty is already creating disruptions in hiring and planning essential services for health center patients. I have been on Capitol Hill with NACHC staff meeting with Members of Congress and staff.
Health centers will find a path forward. To some extent, we are victims of our own success. Health centers are a popular, nonpartisan program, with a long track record. There are so many other programs and causes clamoring for scarce resources and the limited bandwidth of Congress —- but none of these programs or causes have the kind of history, the kind of patient impact stories, and the level of data that health centers have to demonstrate our results – and make a solid case for continued investment.
I am learning from you.
Part of my motivation to visit every health center in every state is to listen and learn from all of you. To understand your why – why are you part of the Community Health Center Movement and how can we advance it together as partners? I want to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We in the Health Center Movement are united in our belief that everyone deserves quality health care that is affordable, respectful, and delivered in a culturally competent manner. By expanding the number of Community Health Centers in our nation, we expand access to equitable and wholistic care for more Americans.
And I am so proud to collaborate with you to make sure our Movement – which is needed now more than ever – grows in size and strength to be ready to meet the challenges of the future. With partners like you, I know we’re up to the task!
I stand committed, along with my talented staff and board, to being the champion for every health center in this nation. My work has been focused on ensuring that health centers, across the country, become the “provider of choice, employer of choice, and partner of choice!”
Below, please learn about how NACHC plans to make this vision a reality.
Provider Of Choice – With a Focus on Health Equity
As the nation’s largest primary care network, health centers have a unique opportunity to implement technologies that can reduce health disparities and ensure equity. At NACHC we envision a framework to guide the use of technology as a force to promote health equity, and social justice.
TECH + EQUITY = TechQuity
TechQuity is a term that combines the possibilities of Health IT with our core value of achieving Equity for all — delivering Quintuple Aim Outcomes! Achieving TechQuity demands a diverse workforce, data trust, the use of equity dashboards, and equitable and transparent AI (artificial intelligence). More on this in the months to come.
Employer Of Choice – With the Best Primary Care Workforce
Our Rx For the Primary Care Workforce
This is a roadmap that aims for health centers to become vibrant employers, providers and partners of choice and have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community they serve:
Recruitment: Strategies include maximizing health center participation in HRSA workforce programs, creating career opportunities at health centers and establishing partnerships to develop the next generation of care teams.
Retention: Strategies include professional development opportunities, ensuring a competitive environment that focuses on medical assistants, dental assistants, community health workers, and non-clinical positions; address wellness; and help with employee debt, among other measures.
Reform: Strategies include adequate reimbursement that allows health centers to pay competitive salaries in a tight labor market and a transition to value-based care.
Partner Of Choice – With all 7 Ps of the Health System
We also want health centers to be top of mind for policymakers at the local, state and federal levels talking about health care and brought into the rooms where decisions are being made. To be optimally effective, we must also work across the 7 Ps (Providers, Payers, Purchasers, Policy Makers, Producers, Pioneers and Patients) of the health system, with patients at the center of all we do.
Five Xs of Health Center Innovation
In order to become the employer, provider, and partner of choice, innovation must be at the core. I have spent a lot of time on the road talking about the future. As health care evolves, we have a unique opportunity to establish a new framework and harness the power of technologies and ideas to expand access to care, reduce health disparities and ensure equity in health delivery. To build that framework, it is important to establish a culture of innovation within an organization…what I call the five “Xs” of Health Center Innovation:
- Explore. Explore the opportunities, challenges and potential solutions affecting health centers and the people they serve.
- Experiment. Experiment and test solutions – and even fail; gather patient, staff, and partner input.
- Excel. Excel by refining and improving the solution.
- Expand. Expand, scale, and catalyze innovations, learn from both successes and failures, and assure sustainability.
- Exchange. Exchange insights and learnings and scale solutions to advance impact
CEO Goals & Priorities
In the year ahead, NACHC will be focused on several goals that support our strategic pillars and will better enable us to help you in expanding your impact in the communities you serve.
- Advocacy: Creating more ACES…learn how your community health center can become one!
- Communications: Increasing engagements and information sharing on social media…we encourage you to join the movement by following NACHC and Dr. Rhee!
- Membership: Enhancing our membership structure…we encourage you to become a member!