Our Experience at the Legislative Pre-Conference Workshop
By Amy D. Imes and Stacey Chapman
As the face of healthcare changes, advocacy is increasingly vital to ensure the needs of our patients are met with appropriate resources.
As providers for geriatric patients, we know that our role is to watch for legislation that will impact the care we are able to deliver. We have written letters on occasion when a big issue is brought to our attention. We have been known to attend key meetings where political actions are discussed. We discuss said issues with colleagues from across the country to contemplate solutions and help spread the word.
Neither of us had been to visit a politician personally, so when the pre-conference workshop was offered at the 2018 Annual GAPNA Conference in Washington, DC, to provide the opportunity to visit our senators and representatives, we both agreed this was a unique opportunity not to be missed.
This workshop taught us how to advocate, why it is so vitally important, and that so few Americans actively dialogue with their legislators. We spent a morning learning and strategizing about our afternoon meetings, which greatly reduced our anxiety about meeting with our representatives.
We were asked ahead of time to try and schedule some time with our representatives and our senators. My Georgia colleagues were able to get appointments with both senators from Georgia and one representative from a local district.
Officially, we were there to discuss an important piece of legislation that would allow nurse practitioners to order home health. We gave specific examples of how patients are experiencing a delay in care while waiting on physician orders and discussed why it was vitally important for patients to have access to care that is immediate to meet their individual needs.
The discussion with each legislator's office was robust and rewarding. The meetings, though brief, set the stage for further conversation.
The entire experience was incredible!
We had a voice and were using it to shape the future of health care. We are the experts for geriatrics. We are the ones who stepped outside the comfort zone and took action to improve care for patients. We were able to conquer Capitol Hill as a group, with the help of GAPNA.
Stacey has also taken the energy that she felt during the pre-conference and joined the Health Affairs Committee so she can continue to affect legislative efforts on both local and national levels.
Amy D. Imes, GNP-BC
Stacey Chapman, ANP-BC
Join your friends at the 2019 Contemporary Pharmacology and Prescribing in Older Adults Conference, March 28-30, 2019, in Chicago, IL.