Letters and phone calls can make a huge difference on Capitol Hill. But to really make Congress understand what nurses see every day on the job, a face-to-face meeting with a lawmaker or their staff is hard to beat. An office visit shows them the human face of your profession and your patients.
Here’s a quick guide to planning your office visit.
How to set up your meeting:
• Pick a day during the week of January 16th when you could stop by your Senator’s local office.
• Pick which of your two U.S. Senators you’re going to meet with. You should choose whichever Senator you prefer.
• Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s office. Tell the staffer you’d like to request a meeting with the staff at your nearest district office about health care – the staffer you speak with can tell you where the closest office is. You probably don’t need to make an appointment, but it’s helpful to make one so you can be sure a knowledgeable staffer will be available.
Once you’ve scheduled a date and time:
• Do a little homework and figure out where your Representative stands on repealing the Affordable Care Act. You can often find press releases on their websites. Don’t forget: ANA staff is here to help! Feel free to reach out to us in the comments below.
• Jot down a couple notes about how you’ll introduce yourself – your background in nursing, what kind of patients you see or what classes you teach. The staffers you meet will be grateful to have a little context.
• Decide what YOUR number-one worry is about healthcare in America. Is it providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions? Is it making sure young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance? Is it lifetime coverage caps, or something else entirely? For more ideas and background, check out the rest of the Capitol Beat blog, and be sure to read this letter we sent to the incoming Trump administration about ANA’s principles for any changes made to our health care system. You don’t have to speak to every issue, just what’s important to you personally.
• Remember, you’ll be meeting with staffers who probably don’t know the ins and outs of healthcare as well as you do. Be ready for them to ask you to explain technical terms.
Last but not least, make sure you thank the staffer for their time and attention!
Any questions, concerns, or clarifications? Let us know in the comments!