What if you could reimagine ACEP’s political and legislative advocacy efforts? What would you change? How would you expand, enhance, and engage membership within ACEP’s 911 Legislative Grassroots Network? What would you ask of yourself, your colleagues, chapters, and the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA)? Could you imagine advocacy as part of your professional lifelong career?
It is no longer enough to learn, teach, and practice emergency medicine to ensure the specialty’s growth and stability. Political external forces and the actions of Congress will impact emergency medicine and our patients for the duration of our careers. If we want to be effective advocates for our patients and ourselves, we must seek out appropriate education and take responsible actions within the political and legislative arenas. This includes education, organization, outreach, political fund raising, and direct engagement with the legislative and regulatory bodies at the state and federal levels.
We must change our thinking. Advocacy should be a lifelong professional development process. Look at how long it took to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula.
The ACEP 911 Legislative Grassroots Network is raising the bar to promote this new vision, where every emergency physician is a member of ACEP and a 911 member who actively believes in and practices lifelong professional advocacy.
How do we get there? The first step is to expand our numbers. To do this we will be launching a contest among the ACEP state chapters and EMRA.
At the start of the ACEP Leadership and Advocacy Conference last May, the number of 911 Network members (ACEP and EMRA) was tabulated for each chapter. This will be the starting point for the Triple E (Expand-Enhance-Engage) Contest. Chapters will be recognized for absolute number and percentage gains in ACEP and EMRA members joining the 911 Network. One chapter will be recognized for going the extra mile to promote the 911 Network and to engage their chapter members.
Chapters can earn points for this award when a 911 member:
- Opens and reads the 911 Network Weekly Update
- Responds to an Action Alert by either emailing or calling their legislator
- Hosts or participates in an ED visit for a legislator or staff
- Meets with a legislator back home or attends a town hall meeting
- Delivers a National Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee (NEMPAC) check at a local fundraising event for their legislator
- Attends the 2015 Leadership and Advocacy Conference or School of Political Advocacy at ACEP15
- Participates in a tele-forum on a specific legislative issue to learn more about the issue and how to take action
Chapters can also receive points for publishing articles about or promoting the 911 Legislative Grassroots Network. Additional credit will be given for filling roles of team captain and state and regional leaders.
The winning chapters will be recognized at the ACEP Council meeting in Boston on October 25, 2015.
All ACEP members are invited to view and explore our new ACEP Advocacy microsite where you can sign up for the 911 Network and learn more about how you can make a difference. Remember that you will have to sign in with your ACEP username and password for access to the site.
Dr. Bern is national coordinator for the 911 Legislative Grassroots Network and a member of the ACEP Federal Government Affairs Committee.