As this summer winds down, and the weather starts to cool, the hints of fading light remind us that the year is on its way out. It’s a time that begs reflection on what has happened so far this year and what more we have left to do.

The year has had a lot of ups and downs, and perhaps more so in the policy and legislative arena than usual. We had such great hope for the new Governor who speaks so boldly and eloquently of health care, social determinants of health, mental health, early childhood development- all such important issues to community health centers and the communities we serve. But the challenge of the Executive Order on pharmacy and the grave consequences it has for the 340B program in Medi-Cal managed care, and to the larger Medi-Cal delivery system and our partners across the safety net have blanketed all of the conversations and policy discussions. Despite months and months of advocacy the threat still looms and we have not yet secured the wins we set out to make. But this is not a loss to me, nor should it be to you. The health center movement has waxed and waned through decades of policy battles and ultimately it has grown and rebounded because the movement and cause is righteous- dignity, access, respect to anyone and everyone. When that is what we come together to fight for, we will always win at the end of the day.

Where we are today in the policy debate on 340B and Pharmacy transition is far from where we started. Today health centers are at the table and influencing the discussion. This happened because the advocacy was positioned around what health centers do, and do so well- serving, providing and responding to their unique communities.  Health centers told stories about the culturally competent medication management, the in-house pharmacies, and the additional workforce investments that 340B savings provides for.  The power of this work and the power of the voice of health centers has resonated throughout California and it has made a difference in the policy debate.

Governor Newsom’s vision for California where all people have coverage and the services they need cannot be achieved without health centers.  Securing and stabilizing the 340B savings is the next critical step, and everyone acknowledges that. Continued solidarity and a unified voice will ensure a successful resolution and a stronger California.

As always, we are committed partners in Sacramento.

Andie Martinez Patterson

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