Advocacy | Do Your Part

By Linda L. Hart, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, AACC.

We are in a great time in health care; a time when individuals can share their voices, the voices of their patients and the needs of their practice. There are several ways to communicate ideas and concerns, and it begins with being aware of the ongoing problems.

On the federal level, a multitude of issues are on the ACC radar. These issues include legislation supporting advanced practice clinicians (APC) in the arenas of supervision of cardiac rehab, Pharm-D as an independent provider status and allowing APC to order home health care for their patients.

Once issues are recognized and understood, it is important to know that voices can be heard on Capitol Hill in numerous ways. Examples include: establishing a relationship with one's legislator and their health policy staff; being available to their legislator as a resource for health policy issues that impact their practice and patients; and providing financial support. In these instances, the ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC) can step in and help.

The beauty of the ACCPAC is that an investment can be compounded and magnified. For every dollar invested, the ACCPAC amplifies one's voice exponentially. For example, $100 can be individually donated to a candidate who supports health care policy issues. However, by joining forces with the ACCPAC, the candidate can be provided with perhaps $1,000 in support, as a great deal of interest is paid by the candidate. In order to get reelected, candidates need constituent and financial support.

The ACCPAC is bipartisan, and contributes to candidates on both sides of the aisle. Every ounce of a person's contribution goes towards candidates who will impact health care policy. The ACC has shown to invest wisely; for example, of the 90 ACCPAC candidates up for election in 2016, 81 were victorious. These victories, coupled with financial support and access by our lobbyist to Capitol Hill, provide a perfect environment for voices to be heard.

As your representative on the ACCPAC board, I am committed to supporting candidates who support legislation that improves access for our patients and increases autonomy for APCs.

Cardiovascular Team Members are reminded to download the ACC Advocacy Action App. Using the app, members can engage with lawmakers and influence health policy. The app includes an interactive congressional directory to locate lawmakers, timely talking points to share during congressional visits, an event scheduler to keep track of Capitol Hill meetings, social media tools to engage with legislators and more. Click here to download the ACC Advocacy Action App.