At the end of July — and after months of protests at town halls, demonstrations on Capitol Hill, and messages sent to members of Congress — the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) collapsed in the Senate. One lesson from the failure of the effort to repeal the ACA is the power of grassroots activism and the influence that ordinary citizens can have on the policy development process in Washington.
While this particular case of grassroots advocacy was focused on halting a controversial policy proposal, constituents also have immense power to encourage and advance general policy initiatives. PAEA is determined to harness this power to help our members make the case for PA education to policymakers.
Following the June 2017 decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to include a PAEA-suggested practice improvement activity credit for PA preceptors under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in its proposed rule for 2018, the Government Relations team went into action. We launched a targeted comment campaign to advocate for CMS to include the MIPS provision in the final regulation. The response from a wide array of PA education advocates was inspiring, resulting in over 315 comments submitted to CMS in favor of the provision.
This effort displayed the enthusiasm and capacity for grassroots activism among PA education advocates. We want to provide more opportunities for advocates to speak out in the interest of students, programs, and the profession. To that end, we are launching the PAEA Grassroots Action Network (GAN) — a new resource for impassioned advocates who seek to advance the cause of PA education. The network will allow us to do a few specific things:
- We will be able to provide you with periodic “Washington Updates” on activities taking place on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies on issues that matter to PA educators.
- The system will help you identify your representatives and senators in Congress and streamline the process for making your voice heard.
- Action Alerts will provide you with opportunities to rapidly respond to fast-moving policy developments.
With these features and others, the GAN will be a one-stop shop for PA education advocates who want to learn about emerging policy issues, act in tandem with other supporters, and ultimately become changemakers on the national stage.
The goal of this endeavor is to simultaneously advance the PAEA advocacy agenda and provide new opportunities for program directors, faculty, students, and their supporters to learn about the policy process and develop the skills necessary to promote PA education to key influencers.
As the GAN is launched and participants identify potentially useful tools and information that will help facilitate our grassroots efforts, we will also work to refine the network to become an optimal resource for all users.
We looks forward to engaging with advocates through this new resource and, as always, offer our thanks to those who devote their time to advocacy on behalf of PA education.