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Why Advocacy is Important and How you can get Involved.

All About Congress/Why is Advocacy Important?


Participating in advocacy can be as simple and easy as sending a pre-written letter to your members of Congress from the APTA Advocacy App, submitting a comment to an agency, interacting you're your members of Congress on social media, and meeting with your members of Congress in your local area.
 
  • Physical therapy issues are addressed in Congress and by federal agencies. Raising your voice is important so they can know how policies will impact the profession
  • How a bill becomes a law. Though this resource is for kids, it's a short, quick overview of how it all works.
  • Check out how a typical office on Capitol Hill is structured.
  • Telling your story to your members of Congress is important. They want to hear how particular policies impact their district and the people they were elected to serve. Key Contacts become a resource on physical therapy to members of Congress and their staff.
  • APTA provides various tools to help you raise your voice.
  • Legislative Action Center – for APTA members only
  • Patient Action Center – open to the public and shareable
  • APTA Advocacy App


Congressional Update


Below are a few of the bills we are working on. Please reach out if you have any questions and visit https://www.apta.org/advocacy to read even more in depth on our work. You may also check out our position papers here and use them as a resource when connecting with your legislators.
 
  • The Stabilizing Medicare Access to Rehabilitation and Therapy Act, SMART Act, (H.R. 5536). Mitigates the PTA/OTA payment differential under Medicare.
  • The Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act (H.R. 1611/S. 2612). Expands the use of locum tenens by PTs nationwide.
  • Primary Health Services Enhancement Act (H.R. 5365). Adds PTs as primary health service providers in Community Health Centers.
  • The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (H.R. 3759/S. 2676). Adds to PTs to the NHSC Student Loan Repayment Program.
  • Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 2168/S. 3193). Makes PTs and PTA permanently authorized providers of telehealth under Medicare.
  • The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (H.R 3320/S.1679).  Creates new grant program for accredited PT and PTA education program to recruit
  • underrepresented individuals.
  • Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173/S. 3018)
  • The IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 5984/S. 3213)
  • The Medicare Patient Empowerment Act (H.R. 3322/S. 826)
  • Military Moms Matter Act (H.R. 3047) – signed into law!
  • Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Providers Protection Act (H.R. 1667/S. 610) – signed into law!
  • Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (H.R. 5611/S. 2600)
  • Physical Activity Recommendations for American Acts (H.R. 2094/S. 1301)
  • Lymphedema Treatment Act (H.R. 3630/S.1315)
  • The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 (H.R. 379/S. 104)
  • PTPAC
  • APTA dues do not go to PTPAC
  • Allows APTA staff and Key Contacts to attend fundraisers and get important facetime with legislators. Please email Michael Matlack at michaelmatlack@apta.org if you have fundraiser opportunities in your area and we will see if we can help.


How to Meet with Members of Congress


Step 1: Getting Started
  • Connect with the scheduler, either in the DC office or the district office. Each office may have different protocol for scheduling requests, so just ask for their preference.
  • You may reach out directly if you have a contact in the office.
  • Can't find contact information? Reach out at laurakeivel@apta.org

Step 2: The Invitation
  • Include who you are, where you live, your credentials, what you want to discuss, timing (specific times and place), your contact information
  • You can call or email the request. Follow up accordingly a day or two after the initial request.
  • Reach out (laurakeivel@apta.org) if you want a template scheduling request.

Step 3: Preparation
  • What have they supported in the past? Find this information on the APTA Advocacy App or Congress.gov. Please view the recording to show you exactly what you need to do to find this information.
  • Review your logistics and make sure everything is running smooth and is ready to go. If your meeting is virtual: test your tech, check your lighting, camera angle, noise. In-person/site visit: know where you are going and have a plan.
  • Touch base with the office a day or two before to reconfirm the meeting
  • Have a backup plan if something goes wrong (the internet drops, you're lost, etc.).
  • Have another way for the office to contact you just in case.

Step 4: At the Meeting
  • Introduce everyone and where they are from (if others are joining you), discuss what you do/your role.
  • Talk about how the issue is impacting you/your patients/your school/your business. Talk about PT.
  • Make the ask. Always have an ask. Always.
  • Be kind, even if you disagree and don't go off topic
  • Meetings usually last 10-15 minutes. Every minute counts.
  • Get consent for social media/photo opportunities. Share your photos by tagging your legislator and using #PTAdvocacy
  • Give any leave behinds, contact info, and thank them. Leave behinds are available virtually if you want to email them a link or print off a copy.
  • Tell your story. Stories are more memorable than facts alone.Tell them exactly how an issue will impact you, your patients, your school,
  • business, etc. Keep it local so the legislator understands the impact on the people the represent. Figure out what you want to say in advance. What stories do you have that will make the biggest impression and drive home the point to the legislator? Have a visual. Many members of Congress need educated on what physical therapy is and how it impacts the community. Showing them equipment, your practice, etc. makes a lasting impression.

Step 5: The Follow Up is Essential!
  • Send an email
  • Thank them again for their time, summarize the visit, send any photos and let them know you are a resource on physical therapy.

Contributors

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