ARxC is committed to ensuring all people have sufficient access to the healthcare services they require to achieve their maximum wellness.
In Georgia, we do this by advocating to:
1. Expand Medicaid
There are 500,000 uninsured Georgians who are too poor to gain access to the health insuirance subsidies made possible through the ACA, but are not poor enough to qualify for traditional Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid in Georgia would significantly improve access to care to this group of medically underserved Georgians.
Expanding Medicaid would also save hospitals in Georgia. In the past two years, four Georgia hospitals were forced to close because they could no longer afford to provide uncompensated care to their patients - patients that would've been able to pay for their services if Georgia expanded Medicaid. For a full description of how expanding Medicaid would help sustain hospitals check out this latest report from this Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) issue brief: Impact of Insurance Expansion on Hospital Uncompensaged Care Costs in 2014
2. Secure access to health insurance benefits
ARxC is invested in assuring that payers cover and maintain coverage for vital services.
In November of 2019, ARxC, along with colleagues from the Epilespy Foundation (Georgia), Ruby A. Neeson Diabetes Awareness Foundation, Inc., Diabetes Community Action Coalition of Fulton County, sent a letter urging the Georgia Congressional Delegation to protect Goergia's Medicare beneficiaries by rejecting harmful proposuls such as the international pricing index and other government price setting proposals.
ARxC is also committed to expand access to PCSK9 inhibitors, a relatively new class of drugs designed to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, have encountered challenges with uptake. Read more about what is being done to expand access to these medications here.
In 2018, ARxC stood with the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in opposition to Anthem's Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and its controversial and dangerous emergency care policy that retroactively denies coverage for emergency patients. Click here to read about this lawsuit.
ARxC continues to express our strong opposition to the sudden and drastic changes to Medicare Part D. In 2018, ARxC has partnered with the Part B Access for Seniors and Physicians (ASP) Coalition's efforts to reject proposals that would create a new Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP) under Part B and move Part B drugs under Part D coverage.
In the past we have taken similar action to protect the benefits of Medicare beneficiaries that were proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in our letter to (then) CMS Administrator Tavenner. ARxC then joined 200 organizations and groups demanding that the rule be withdrawn in a shared letter to CMS that was widely publicized. CMS responded by issuing a letter to Congress that states "...Given the complexities of these issues and stakeholder input, we do not plan to finalize these proposals at this time..."
ARxC also partners with community groups to ensure they have access the the full spectrum of services through their insurance plans. In 2014, ARxC supported efforts led by the Teachers Rally Against Georgia Insurance Changes (T.R.A.G.I.C.), a group of State employees and advocates who advocate for a state-designed healthcare plan with affordable options that will meet the diverse needs of Georgia's state employees, retirees and their families.
ARxC also collaborates with the Speicalty Tiers Colation to secure and sustain access to specialty medications. To learn more about this effort see Specialty Tiers.
3. Developing a consumer-oriented health insurance model
In 2011, ARxC launched the ARxC Health Plan Assessment Survey© to assess what Georgians want in their health insurance plans. The survey asked questions about participants' experience with choosing and using their health insurance and their experience accessing quality health care. The survey also assessed participants' interest in participating in various wellness programs in exchange for premium discounts.
ARxC planned to use the results of the survey to inform the establishment of a state-based health insurance exchange and facilitate the adoption of health insurance plans that meet the needs of Georians. These plans have been put on hold given Georgia's opposition to establish a state-based exchange and regulate the health insurance plans offered in Georgia.
4. Keep primary care clinics open
In the past ARxC has advocated to preserve the community health centers that provide primary care services to medically underserved communities. In April 2011 we protested the closing of Grady Hospital's Otis Smith Neighborhood Health Center at 2600 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. (see ARxC's April 3 Press Release). With the support of Commisioner Emma Darnell (see Commisioner Darnell's Letter to ARxC), ARxC appealed to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to keep Grady Health System (GHS) accountable to meeting the medical needs of the indigent residents of Fulton and Dekalb counties. Specifically, we asked the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to keep the GHS community health clinics open and accessible to Atlanta's low-income populations and provide an avenue to give the residents of Georgia a voice as stakeholders in the patient practices and polices at GHS (see ARxC's April 20, 2011 Letter to Fulton Board of Commisioners).
With continued leadership from Commissioner Darnell and a collaborative partnership with Grady and Emory School of Medicine, the Otis W. Smith Center was moved to downtown Atlanta and the facility became the home of the HEALing (Health, Education, Assessment and Leadership) Community Center, a community health center that continues to serve the low income residents on Atlanta's west side with a variety of primary care and wellness services.
To find a community health center in Georgia that is near you click here. To access specialty care services that are available to uninsured Georgians check out the Atlanta Regional Health Guide available in English and Spanish.
On a national scale, ARxC supports the full implementation of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act that establish and strengthen the network of community health centers that serve the medically underserved areas and populations throughout the United States. Find out more about these provisions at http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/healthcenterfactsheet.pdf.
5. Provide outreach and education services
In addition to ensuring individuals have adequate health insurance and access to health care facilities, ARxC works to facilitate access to the services and information they need to be advocates for themselves.
As a CMS Champion of Coverage, ARxC sends out updates about the Health Insurance Marketplace and guidance on how to use health insurance to access quality health care services. Here are a few key resources in this effort:
- HHS.gov/Healthcare: This website provides background information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Affordable Care Act, Prevention and Wellness Services, and other information related to the programs and services made available to help Americans access the services they need to be well.
- ACA 101 Webinars: The HHS Partnership Center host a series of webinars about the benefots made available by the ACA. These webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session where participants can ask HHS staff questions.
- From Coverage to Care: From Coverage to Care is an initiative to help people with new health care coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them, so they can live a long and healthy life.
6. Provide health and wellness advice
As a certified Holistic Health Counselor (HHC) and Registered Nurse (RN) Dorothy Leone-Glasser encourages patients to actively participate in their healthcare and wellness. In doing so she considers the entire person - the body, mind, and spirit - to help clients improve their health through everyday lifestyle choices.
Click here to learn more about Dorothy Leone-Glasser's approach to becoming a health advocate for one's self and community.
Dorothy share her expertise by providing wellness tips through the ARxC Blog which you can subscribe to.
Dorothy also leads ARxC's Sisters Together for Awareness, Renewal and Support ©, or S.T.A.R.S. group. S.T.A.R.S. is a women's support group that provides an open and safe environment for members and guests to come together and discuss the concerns, needs, and direction of women in an enlightened time. Go to our STARS Advocacy and Wellness Group to learn more.