Jeff Cook from The American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) released a urgent message for psychologists. The 2010 State Leadership Conference (SLC) is right around the corner (March 6-9), which means it is time to schedule Capitol Hill visits with members of your Congressional delegation. Each year, thanks to your hard work, there are more than 300 Congressional visits scheduled during SLC. This is annually an enormous boost to our federal advocacy effort. Check the end of this report to download: Sample Letter To Meet, APAPO Hill Appointment Schedule forms, and Key Members of Congress forms.
You should try to make appointments right away for Tuesday, March 9 between 9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. If possible, your state’s attendees should meet with each member of your state’s Congressional delegation. While this may seem like a daunting task, the following pointers should help you manage your time:
- Each meeting should last approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Leave 15 to 20 minutes between each meeting to allow for back to back appointments located in different office buildings.
- Allow at least 30 minutes when you travel between House and Senate buildings.
For those offices in which the Member is not going to be available request a meeting with the Health Legislative Assistant. If time limitations or scheduling conflicts prevent your state’s SLC attendees from meeting with each member of your Congressional delegation, prioritize meetings with Members who serve on key committees. A list of these key Members is attached (download below). We will provide you with any committee changes as they become available. If time is available, it is a good idea to seek appointments in the offices of your first-term Senators and Representatives as well, to establish a relationship if one does not yet exist.
House key committees:
- Energy and Commerce Committee
- Education and Labor Committee
- Ways and Means Committee
Senate key committees:
- Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee
- Finance Committee
Please complete and fax (202-336-5937) or email (jcook at apa.org) the enclosed Hill Appointment Schedule (download below), Attention Jeff Cook, as soon as possible (we need at least a partial schedule by Monday, February 15). It is very important that we have this information in order for Government Relations staff and/or a photographer to consider accompanying your delegation to certain meetings. If the schedule changes, please inform Jeff Cook. Also, since your Federal Advocacy Coordinator is the leader of your delegation for the Hill visits, please make sure that you keep your FAC informed of your scheduling activities.
The following guidelines will assist you in scheduling your appointments:
- To schedule your appointments, contact the Congressional office directly or through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard Operator at 202-224-3121. After connecting with your Member’s office, ask for the appointment secretary/scheduler and begin negotiating an appointment. (If any of your SPTA members have personal relationships with any Members of your delegation, you may choose to delegate these calls accordingly.)
- Identify yourself and the purpose of your visit. State that you will be in Washington, DC for a conference and would like to request time with the Senator/Representative on March 9 to discuss Medicare reimbursement issues. Remember that you and your SPTA members are important constituents!
- Arrange for your entire group to meet together with your Senators (or their Health Legislative Assistants) and then divide up accordingly when meeting with Representatives (this will vary depending on the size of your group). Be sure to include a constituent in visits with Representatives whenever possible.
- Confirm all appointments in writing, via e-mail or fax. A sample letter is enclosed for your convenience. The scheduler may also request a list of the psychologists who will be attending the meeting. It is a good idea to have this list available when scheduling your appointments.
- You will be provided with the necessary briefing materials prior to your arrival in Washington. If a Congressional office requests a copy of our fact sheets in advance of your meeting, please notify us and we will e-mail a copy to the office.
- Be persistent! You may have to call an office several times before you are able to get through to the appointment secretary. Remember, the offices receive hundreds of calls each day – don’t give up until you speak with the appropriate person.
Good luck. Please feel free to contact Jeff Cook at 202-336-5889 if you have any questions, especially if this is your first year scheduling Hill appointments. And remember, Congressional schedules fill up quickly in March so begin to schedule your meetings no later than the first week of February. While it may take a while for Hill offices to confirm appointments it is critically important to get on their radar early. Thanks for your help making SLC 2010 another huge success!
Reprinted with permission: APAPO