by Andrew Yogmour, OCHCH Policy & Advocacy Director
Should I get involved in advocacy? Do elected officials actually care what I have to say? Aren’t there people being paid to advocate on my behalf?
The answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!”
After spending about seven years working in the Ohio House of Representatives, the importance of grassroots advocacy cannot be stressed enough in words.
You might be asking yourself, “What’s grassroots advocacy?” Grassroots advocacy involves advocating for or against a public policy topic by an individual, usually someone that has practical experience and knowledge of the issue, that isn’t a professional lobbyist. In health care at home, the grassroots advocate would include, but isn’t limited to:providers of home care and hospice, office staff, front-line caregivers, individuals being served in the community and their families.
Every single public policy, whether adopted through legislation or administrative regulation, causes some type of change in our society. As everyone knows, not all laws and regulations are good. Some good intentioned policies might result in unforeseen consequences, and others might have been intended to result in the outcome that some see as negative. Advocacy plays a key role in the process of each and every public policy that becomes a law or administrative rule, so health care at home needs to have a strong grassroots voice in the discussion. Our representatives in the legislative and executive branches of government only know what they know. If they don’t know that you need or want something, they can’t help you.
Officials that want to remain in office, will listen to the concerns and guidance of their constituents. Every time a candidate’s name appears on a ballot, their constituents, the voters, decide if they’ll be able to serve for another term. An elected official might not always make decisions that an advocate desires, but they do care about what you have to say and will remember stances on issues.
Another component of advocacy is the professional lobby effort. Although people are paid to advocate on issues important to health care at home, an argument means a lot more to an elected official when it comes from their constituent. Constituents that work in the field have the practical experience and knowledge that legislators and policymakers want to learn from.
While OCHCH lobbyists are always trying to implement the best strategies and advocate on your behalf, the health care at home industry needs your help! OCHCH will do all of the hard work for you, making it easy to become an effective grassroots advocate. In our competitive public policy environment, it’s extremely important that the voice of health care at home is heard and thoughtfully considered as part of the public policy process.
By working together, we can change the future of health care where it matters most – at home. To get involved, contact me at (614) 885-0434 x 204.