2015 Legislative Efforts
Call to Action!
Updates ~ Next steps ~ How you can help!
It is up to us to improve the awareness and credibility of Licensed Acupuncturists as qualified medical providers in Minnesota. It is our responsibility as citizens, practitioners, and business owners to educate our elected representatives about our profession and our businesses, as well to establish a relationship with them as their voting constituents.
In recent weeks AOMAM President Aaron Schindler has testified on two active bills on your behalf (HF211 and HF377).
The first is House Bill HF211, which will allow for loan forgiveness for a number of rural healthcare workers. Thanks to Aaron’s testimony acupuncturists are now included on the house bill (SF314 is the companion bill in the senate).
The second bill is HF377, which will allow for deductions for the value of charity healthcare services. We are watching these closely and we need to ask our representatives and senators to watch them too and support inclusion of acupuncturists in these bills.
- HF377 (click here for link)
Besides the bills mentioned above we need to begin a regular conversation with those that represent us and who have been elected to serve the public. We need to educate our representatives and senators about our daily experiences as a professional healthcare provider. Much like most of the public many do not know what we do in our practices day-to-day, how well we are trained or why we do what we do.
When you contact your representatives and senators tell them:
- About how your service impacts your community
- How long you have trained and studied to become a qualified medical provider
- How it is important to make sure acupuncturists are supported to do their job and help the public
Healthcare will change dramatically over the next 10 years and it is important that the individuals making decisions on new healthcare policy are well educated on what we provide to the community. This will need to be an effective campaign that is carried out over the next few years and people need the info to act proactively. If your profession is important to you it should be important for you to have a relationship with those individuals who represent you.
We need you to act now. There are two ways you can help.
1. If you practice or reside in one of the districts of representative or senate healthcare committee members, we need you to:
- Send a letter congratulating your representative(s) on the appointment and a request to meet with them in the district to discuss issues that are important to you and your profession, including the bills mentioned above.
- Once you send the letter give it a few days and follow up with a phone call and ask for an appointment
2. The second way to help is to send a personal letter your representative and senator and inform them of the bills above and their importance. Also, remember to educate them clearly and concisely on what you do, how well you are trained as a healthcare provider and how it makes an impact in your community.
Here's how to move our profession forward:
1. If you don’t already know the name of your senator and representative, take 5 minutes now to look them up. If he or she is one of the committee members, designate 30 minutes for contacting them and contact them by Friday, February 20, 2015 if at all possible. Personal relationships are a keystone of political power.
2. If you are in a committee member’s district and are willing to go to the capitol to meet with them in person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable us to streamline our organizing efforts and do our best to send support along with you to your meeting.
3. Share this information with another acupuncturist in your clinic or community. If you are not an AOMAM member, now is the time to join. Online registration is available.
We have provided links for the relevant committees, the link for looking up your representatives' contact info, and a sample letter below. If your senator or representative is not a key healthcare committee they still need to be contacted. Use the letter below as a guide for connecting and letting them know how important it is to support Acupuncturists in our Minnesota.
Contact your Representatives
- Look up your representatives (click here for link)
Links to key committees:
- House - Health and Human Services Reform Committee (click here for link)
- Senate - Health, Human Services and Housing Committee (click here for link)
- Pain Management Standards (click here for pdf)
- Summary of Current Research and Medical Standards Supporting Acupuncture (click here for doc)
Tips for a Productive Meeting
1. Make an appointment. Know your goal.
An excellent goal would be to educate legislators on the important role you play in the health care delivery system. Give them tangible examples of the cost effective care that you provide. Make sure they understand your education and professional credentials.
2. Remember that legislators are people too.
There is an incredible bias in our society against "politicians." But what defines a politician? It's just someone who has decided that they care enough about what's happening to run for office. The vast majority take their responsibility very seriously and want to make a difference. Approaching them from that perspective will yield the best results.
3. Be prepared as best as possible.
Part of being prepared is knowing something about the legislator, what party are they a member of, how long have been in office, what's their background, etc. If a legislator has a question you don't know how to answer, you can simply say you don't know and you'll get back to them.
4. Be aware of time constraints.
During a session, appointments are approximately 15 minutes. Be clear, concise and passionate about what you do.
5. Listen carefully and speak thoughtfully.
If you find something to disagree about, be polite. You can still be a good advocate for your position and be "smart" about how you deliver your message. You don't want to burn a bridge. Sometimes legislators need some education so that they understand the significance of an issue.
6. Know that if you're meeting with a legislator who is up for election.
Expect to be asked to help with their campaign, or make a contribution. Think through your answer ahead of time.
7. After the meeting send a thank-you note.
Not only is it a good way to say "thank you," but it's also a chance to restate some of the points you wanted to emphasize, or follow up on questions that you didn't have the answer for earlier.
[Insert Street Address]
[Insert City, State, Zip]
Dear Representative OR Senator [Insert Name]:
Congratulations on your appointment to the [Committee Name]. I would like to request an invitation to you to meet in the district. I am a Licensed Acupuncturist who practices in [city]. I provide XX services to XX. [IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF AOMAM, please include the following sentence] I am a member of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association of Minnesota whose mission is to provide safe, effective healthcare and promote greater understanding how licensed acupuncturists can help make sure Minnesotans receive the best healthcare possible.
During our visit, I would like to learn more about your priorities as a member of the health committee and briefly share my understanding of how to work together to build a positive working relationship to ensure access to excellence in healthcare.
I would also like to educate you on what we do as licensed acupuncturists and discuss with you the importance of bills currently being discussed that will impact the viability of my business, consumer safety, and healthcare in Minnesota. I am asking you to watch for and support the inclusion of acupuncturists in the following bills HF211, SF314 and HF377 and vote for the passage of these bills. Should any similar legislation be introduced this session I ask that you keep me as a contact and use me as a resource to help you understand the importance of support our profession.
I hope that we will soon have the opportunity to meet. I will call your office regarding details. Thank you for your consideration.
[Insert Your Name]
[Insert Your Position]
[Insert Your Organization’s Name]