By Carlos Vasquez, CRA, FAHRA, MS
July 2010–The Health Professions Network (HPN) held its spring meeting in the nation’s capitol. The objective of the HPN in going to Congress was to advocate for increased funding for and awareness of the allied health professions.
In addition to the day on Capitol Hill, the meeting also featured presentations by Marcia K. Brand, PhD, deputy administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Thomas Elwood, DrPH, executive director of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). As members of HPN’s Advocacy Committee, we were responsible for organizing and coordinating the meetings with congressmen and providing attendees with the proper training for a successful interview with their respective representatives.
HPN Capitol Hill March
There were approximately 30 HPN members in attendance visiting key senators, representatives, and their staff. I visited the office of Congressman Steve Buyer and accompanied other members during visits to congressmen from West Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, and Utah. In total, HPN attendees visited the offices of 21 senators and 15 representatives.
The HPN agenda for its day on Capitol Hill had three requests:
- Funding for a comprehensive workforce study of the allied health professions to be conducted by the HRSA, which oversees the allied healthcare professions.
- Funding to increase awareness of career opportunities in the allied health professions.
- To consider inserting a statement in the Congressional Record recognizing the contributions and supporting the people who are allied health professionals.
Spending an entire day on Capitol Hill advocating for allied health professions was an invaluable experience – this was a first for me. While I represented AHRA at the meeting, I wore the HPN hat to meet my district representative and deliver the three items we requested. It was interesting to engage my representative and have him agree to help with the HPN agenda.
The allied health professions, including all medical imaging professionals and administrators, are essential to ensuring access to quality care for patients nationwide. Additionally, the allied health field has a great economic impact on the delivery of healthcare, based on sheer numbers, as we represent 60% of health professionals. Allied health fields also offer excellent career opportunities for diverse ethnic minorities and displaced workers. Despite the partisan climate in the Capitol, I believe our message of cost containment, increased access, and improved quality was one that resonated with our federal government lawmakers.
About the Health Professions Network
The HPN represents 80 member associations and works to promote collaboration and serve the interests of allied health professionals from 200 different health professions, as well as educators, regulators, accrediting agencies, and government agencies. Since its founding in 1995, HPN has worked to advance and explore current issues relevant to health professions.
The AHRA will continue to be present at these semi-annual meetings, and reports of the progress of the HPN will be published in future issues of Link. For more information on HPN, visit www.healthpronet.org or contact Carlos Vasquez.
Carlos Vasquez, CRA, FAHRA, MS works as division director, radiology services at St. Elizabeth Regional Health in Lafayette, IN. Carlos has written for several AHRA publications and is currently serving as a director on the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors. He can be reached at Carlos.email@example.com.