The Future of OT Will Be Affected By Decisions of the U.S. Congress
Let your Members of Congress Know Your Views! There are many ways this can be accomplished, but none better than during a Congressional recess when the Members of Congress are back at home to hear from you and begin their campaigning. (Remember you have 1 member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents your district in the state and 2 U.S. Senators who represent your entire state.)
- First, know the issues important to OT (get an update --see the Federal Legislative Update and other resources on the issues on this website).
- Second, take action! We urge you to complete or participate in one or more of the following activities:
Invite Your U.S. Representative and Senators to Your Workplace , Educational Institution, or another Site to See OT in Action: Of all the activities, this one makes the most lasting impression on your Members of Congress. For them to see firsthand what you do and how you help so many of their constituents, will mark your profession indelibly on their minds. This is your opportunity to shine! Your opportunity to demonstrate how important OT is to the clients you serve - their constituents. (See 'Guidelines for Site Visits' and 'Visit Report Form' in Related Content at right).
Attend Town Hall or Other Meetings with Your Members of Congress: During Congressional recesses, your Senators and Representative often schedule local meetings, often referred to as Town Hall Meetings. To find out about scheduled meetings, call the office of your U.S. Senators and Representative and ask to be informed of town meetings or meetings on health care. Also, you can watch the newspapers for announcements. Most of all -- Attend and speak out! Shake hands and mention your concerns and your profession. The more they hear the words occupational therapy, the more they remember it when it comes time to vote on bills.
Schedule a Face to Face Meeting with Your Members of Congress: Another option is to schedule a meeting with your Members of Congress when they are back in the state/district. For individuals who do not happen to live in or near the Nation's Capital, this is an excellent time for you to make an impact. You can do this by yourself or with a group of OTs, or you can arrange a meeting with a coalition of other health professionals. Even the simple act of attempting to schedule a meeting affords you the opportunity to get the name of occupational therapy brought to the attention of the Member. (See 'Tips on Meeting with Your Members of Congress' in Related Content at right.)
Write or Call Your Members of Congress: Something you can do at any time of the year is to write or call your Members of Congress and share your views on legislative issues important to the profession. Many resources to help you with this are available on the AOTA website under Practitioners, Advocacy, including tips for writing, fact sheets on the issues, and sample letters.
Enable Others to Write: Set aside time at meetings, big and small, or during lunchtime with your colleagues for letter writing. Bring sample letters, stamps and envelopes and make an impact together! You can do this at scheduled state association or district meetings and conferences, within your own facility, or schedule a special time (coffee or desert at your house) for this. Make it easy and fun!
Participate In The Political System: Check the AOTPAC section of the website for information on supporting candidates, getting involved in campaigns and other ways to participate in the electoral process.
From now and into next year, activism is critical to the survival of key funding streams for occupational therapy and for protecting access to quality services provided by qualified professionals.
Federal Affairs Department staff will assist you in any way possible with resources but ONLY YOU CAN MAKE CONTACT AS A CONSTITUENT.
Keep us informed of your successes and we’ll pass them along to encourage others!
Remember - When your Members of Congress are home -
- they are there to find out first hand their constituents' views on important issues……
- they are there for you……
- they are there to hear from you and all of their constituents.
Don't be left out! Make your voice heard for your profession!