Legislators appreciate when constituents take time to visit the nation's capital. A visit to Capitol Hill is an effective tool when Congress is considering an important piece of legislation. Take these visits seriously and follow the suggestions below for a successful meeting.
It is important to note that visiting with staff is often more productive than meeting with your elected official. On health related matters, you most often would want to speak to the health legislative assistant (LA).
Plan your visit. Be clear about your goals and determine in advance which member or staff person you need to meet with. Contact MGMA's Government Affairs Department for assistance in targeting specific staff.
Make an appointment. When attempting to meet with a member, contact the Appointment Secretary or Scheduler. Explain your purpose and who you represent. It is easier for congressional staff to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss and your relationship to the area.
Be prompt and patient. When it is time to meet with your member, be punctual and patient. It is quite common for a representative to arrive quite late, or to be interrupted during the course of your meeting. If interruptions do occur, be flexible and offer to meet with a relevant staff person. If you present your case well, staff will convey to the member your position on important issues.
Be prepared. Whenever possible, bring information and materials supporting your position. In some instances, a member may lack important details concerning a particular issue. It is therefore helpful to share with the member information and examples that clearly demonstrate the impact or benefits associated with a piece of legislation. Inform the member how an issue affects constituents locally. Also be prepared to answer questions from the legislator.
Remember. Outline your agenda prior to visiting with your member of Congress. You need to signal early in the meeting that you have a specific issue to discuss, and then explain the issue using your personal experience. As always, offer to serve as a local resource.