By Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA
In support of AHIMA’s vision of a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas, AHIMA’s 2020 advocacy priorities are focused on advocating for legislation and regulations in the areas of integrity, access, and connection. One of the ways HIM professionals can effectively advocate for AHIMA’s priorities is by reaching out and engaging with their elected officials.
Did you know that in addition to their offices in Washington, DC, members of Congress typically have an office in their congressional district and/or in their state? Having a meeting with elected officials and their staff is an effective and easy way to get to know them and to express your views on key issues impacting the HIM profession.
Members of Congress are often less distracted by the demands of Washington when in their district offices and are excited to meet with their constituents. The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States means that many in-person interactions are not currently advised. Keep social distancing practices in mind as needed, and consider arranging a video conferencing call instead.
Meeting with your Senators and House Representatives is a great way to build relationships with elected officials while demonstrating the importance of the HIM profession to them. Meeting with your elected officials in their district offices provides an opportunity to highlight the important and transformative work you do while providing a platform for talking about AHIMA’s legislative priorities. These interactions make you a resource to elected officials on HIM matters and fosters stronger ties with them.
For many HIM professionals, it may seem intimidating to meet with a member of Congress. Yet when HIM professionals have reached out to their congressional leaders, many have found that they have much more influence than they realized. Legislators want to hear from their constituents about the issues they are facing within their district, their state, and around the country.
To assist you, AHIMA developed a Congressional District Meeting Resource Guide1 that contains a wealth of tips for setting up a meeting with your elected representatives in their district offices. Included in this comprehensive resource are sections on identifying your representatives, drafting an invitation to meet with them, preparing for and conducting the meeting, following up after the meeting, and maintaining ongoing rapport with your elected officials. There are also a variety of tips for successful advocacy included throughout the resource guide.
AHIMA’s policy and government affairs team is here to help. We can provide you with materials to help you conduct the meeting successfully. We recommend you reach out to the team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week prior to the meeting. If you need any additional guidance on contacting your elected officials or assistance in preparing for the visit or following up afterwards, feel free to email us.
Want to be an advocate for AHIMA but can’t meet with your elected officials in person? Check out the AHIMA Advocacy Action Center for advocacy and policy updates and to take action on current priorities by emailing your elected officials on the website. It only takes a few minutes and you will be making a positive influence on the profession.
AHIMA. “Congressional District Meeting Resource Guide.” January 2020. http://bok.ahima.org/PdfView?oid=302897.
Lesley Kadlec (Lesley.Kadlec@ahima.org) is director, policy and state advocacy engagement at AHIMA.Leave a comment