The South as a region encompasses similar challenges with regard to current needs, racial, ethnic and class disparities, poverty, and political environments. Similarly, policymakers from one Southern state often look to neighboring states when developing policy approaches. Community Catalyst is supporting Southern advocates to use this regional framework to focus on issues such as Medicaid defense, Medicaid expansion, health benefit Exchanges, charity care and community benefit, substance use disorder, and other local and state health policy issues.
Community Catalyst's Southern Health Partners initiative, established in 2008, focuses on building and strengthening the capacity of state-based consumer organizations that represent the needs and concerns of the uninsured, underinsured, and members of vulnerable populations. The Southern Health Partners are a group of advocates from 12 Southern states working toward proactive state, regional, and national health care reform.
Many of the southern states have the highest percentage of uninsured populations in the country, with the majority living below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Given this, the south can reap significant economic and health outcomes advances with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nearly 14 million people will either be newly eligible to receive health coverage through Medicaid expansion or a subsidy through health benefit Exchanges. To ensure these benefits are actualized Southern Health Partners advocates are now working to implement the ACA at the state level which involves policy analysis and robust grassroots organizing campaigns.
Community Catalyst supports state advocates' work by providing technical assistance on various advocacy capacities, including coalition building and maintenance, fundraising and development, grassroots mobilization, communications, and policy analysis. Community Catalyst fosters a learning environment for Southern advocates to share best practices, explore new ideas and learn from each other's experience. The Southern Health Partners learning community connects advocates-giving them a needed forum to effectively collaborative with and learn from their peers through conference calls and regional meetings.
For more information about the program or on the type of assistance you can receive as a member of the Southern Health Partners program, please contact Dara Taylor, Project Director, email@example.com.