Catalyst prioritizes systems change work to improve the health care system and the health of Virginians. Systems change, which addresses the root cause of a problem, often involves changes in policies that impact large numbers of people. To affect policy change, advocacy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels. Effective advocacy depends on the dedication and enthusiasm of the people, for policy change requires trust, patience, and persistence.
Catalyst works to identify policy priorities and engage partners in advocacy by lifting up community voices.
Since Catalyst began in 2010, advocacy has been a cornerstone of our work. Sarah Holland, prior to being the Catalyst CEO, put her communications expertise and passion for activism to work by lobbying at the state and federal levels on behalf of patient rights and preventive health policies. Sarah now leads Catalyst’s work with expertise in public health policy, clinical care infrastructure, and an understanding of the ways in which systemic racism and inequities affect health care systems. Over the years, Catalyst and its partners advocate for policy changes that pave the way towards a more accessible, equitable, and comprehensive health care system.
Policy is a foundational pillar in the strategic vision that guides work at Catalyst.
Learn more about how that fits in with the other pillars - public awareness, clinical and community care, and public health - here.
Past Legislative Successes
Adult Dental Benefit in Medicaid
(2021) Catalyst and its partners advocated for over 10 years for the addition of a comprehensive adult dental benefit in Medicaid. About 800,000 Virginians now have affordable access to services that will help Virginians manage chronic disease, improve pregnancy outcomes, and secure employment. You can learn more here.
Medical Assistants & Fluoride Varnish
(2020) Increasing the number of providers able to apply fluoride varnish makes medical offices more efficient by utilizing each health care provider at the top of their license. Fluoride varnish is easy to apply, safe for the patient, and an effective oral health tool.
(2019) Catalyst joined several partners across Virginia to support an expansion of Medicaid enrollment eligibility to include individuals ages 19-64 with income at or below 138% of the federal poverty limit. This provided affordable health care coverage, including dental, to hundreds of thousands of Virginians.
Pregnancy Dental Benefit
(2015) Poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to negative health outcomes for both mother and child. It is safe and recommended that pregnant people go to the dentist during pregnancy, and this benefit in Medicaid improved access to affordable dental care.