Jonel Gomez, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, GNP-BC
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Forty-six percent of congressional staff say that constituent visits to a member’s Washington office have “a lot” of influence on an undecided member. If that’s true, then AADA, with the help of Katrina Masterson, RN, MS, FNP-BC, DCNP and I wielded a lot of influence on the hill this week! Between the two of us we visited over 8 legislators in Indiana and Pennsylvania – our respective home states. Some of our visits were on our own, and on others we shared the opportunity with dermatologists and dermatology residents all committed to making a difference in Washington!
One issue of focus was medical research funding for the NIH, NIAID, NCI, CDC, FDA, in particular HR 1576, the Melanoma Research Act of 2012. Requests were made to Senators to send letters to the FDA urging indoor tanning bed re-classification, and to Representatives to co-sponsor HR 1676 which calls on the FDA to re-examine the classification of indoor tanning beds and urges more stringent controls on the use of such devices. The dermatologists also asked Congressman to vote to protect Medicare physician payment by permanently repealing the flawed SGR formula. Certainly all of these issues directly or indirectly impact DNA members – nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical assistants – and the patients they serve. And while DNA also has the duty to monitor nursing specific issues like funding for nursing workforce initiatives and reimbursement of services, it’s important that we take advantage of organized “fly ins” like AADA’s to show support of your physician colleagues, while making personal connections with legislators who can and should also have in interest in your professional endeavors to provide quality patient care.
DNA is not planning a fly-in of its own any time soon, but there is a lot DNA members can be doing even in their own districts to make connections with legislators and start building key relationships. Not sure where to start? Check out the March 2012 Issue of the DNAdvocacy Newsletter – see the Advocacy in Action section for tips on how to set up and prepare for a meeting. Here are some other proven methods to impact legislators that we learned about this week.
How can you find names and contact info for your state and federal legislators? Go to www.house.gov, enter your zip code in the top left hand corner, and hit “go”.
Finally, to learn more about federal legislative and regulatory matters pertinent to nurses, including an update on healthcare reform, read the quarterly DNAdvocacy Newsletter.