Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Being Heard

Sometimes I feel as if I have spent my entire career trying to lobby for the home health care industry. I am sure that some of my efforts have been noted. I made many trips, both with AAHomecare and on my own, to speak (“lobby”) with our elected officials in D.C. I know I made a great number of friends in Congress and I am sure I may have offended a few.

The important thing is that wherever I went, and always with other providers, we were able to speak about their constituents and how they are affected by legislation. Since I never was in a position to offer any funds for their re-election committees, I spoke about the strength of HME providers and pharmacists to influence voters. It is amazing that when you bring up this topic how carefully they will listen to you.

I always made it a point to carry with me copies of letters, in a loose leaf binder, that I asked my customers, family care givers, employees and friends to send. This was always effective and the senator or representative we were visiting usually called in his health legislative assistant to review the binder and listen to us.

There is no perfect way to make these visits, but I recommend that when AAHomecare asks for volunteers to attend a fly-in, please participate. If you are making a pleasure trip to D.C., please set aside some time for brief visits with your elected officials. If they cannot see you ask to speak with their HLA. You can make a difference.

Please share with me any experiences you have had either in D.C. or when seeing your elected officials at their home base. Every HME provider and pharmacist must make their voices heard in order to accomplish a great deal of good!

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