Five weeks from now, Congress will begin a five-week district and state work period, with House and Senate members leaving Washington, D.C. from early August through Labor Day.

Lawmakers consider the traditional summer recess a time to reconnect with constituents, absorbing their concerns and opinions on a variety of local and national issues.

The AHA strongly urges hospital and health system leaders to take full advantage of one of the best windows of the year to communicate our field’s priorities and remind your elected officials of the crucial need for their support.

One of the best ways to do that is to reach out to your lawmakers’ offices today and schedule a visit to your hospital to highlight the valuable care provided to your patients and the tremendous benefits your hospital brings to your community. A personal visit is the most powerful way to see firsthand what is taking place in your facilities and demonstrate the positive impact your team makes every single day.

In this election year — with two presidential nominating conventions scheduled this summer, followed by November’s election with party control hanging in the balance — senators and representatives will be spending more time in their home states than in Washington, D.C., sharply attuned to what is on voters’ minds. 

After the election, there will only be a few short weeks of legislating left before the end of the year and many of our most important issues are still on the table, including so-called site-neutral payment policies, rural funding, waiver extensions and more. 

Inviting lawmakers to tour your hospital and discuss your priorities and challenges is a great opportunity to send them back to Washington, D.C. with an enhanced understanding of their local hospitals’ positions and priorities. This understanding will help to ensure helpful legislation — such as the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2584/S. 2768) — becomes law and harmful policies like Medicare funding reductions are avoided.

The truth is that we need to reach all lawmakers and candidates with our messages regardless of how the elections turn out. The AHA has provided a number of resources to assist hospital and health system leaders do that, including a site visit guide to help you maximize a visit from your elected officials.

In addition, AHA’s We Care, We Vote webpage offers many ways to prepare for the 2024 general election, providing background on key issues, voting information for each state and a comprehensive list of questions and topics on hospital and health care issues worth raising with any candidate for office. We Care, We Vote also is an opportunity to encourage good citizenship through voter registration and participation in the electoral process.

While the AHA will never stop advocating for the policies and support that protect patients’ access to care, we need strong grassroots advocacy from the voices and voters in lawmakers’ home states and districts.

Seeing is believing. Giving your elected officials a memorable glimpse of the amazing work and patient care that happens at your hospital or health system every minute of every day will go a long way toward building and maintaining the support our caregivers need to advance health in America. 

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