Never before have our government officials been so in touch with their constituents. Most of us have never met our legislators in person and busy schedules and can keep us from taking advantage of advocacy activities like the IOMS annual visit to Springfield. But that shouldn’t stop you from ensuring that your voice is heard. Your legislators want to hear from you!
Below is a step-by-step process for you to virtually engage with your representatives. Just a few minutes of research will get you all the information you need.
Determine Your Communication Tool
Even in this high-tech world, the telephone is still the most powerful tool when it comes to contacting your legislators.
Do you Tweet? Are you on Facebook? Do you like email? Most legislators have multiple ways for their constituents to track their work and connect with them. You don’t need to be an expert. Just choose a method that works best for you.
Find Your Legislator
Visit the Illinois State Board of Elections Representative Search Page to find your representatives’ contact information. Click on the links shown for the names of your representatives. Some listings include contact information and webpages, for others you will need to do a little investigation. Just do an Internet search on their names to find their web sites.
Need help? IOMS is ready to assist! If you want the contact information for your legislators, send your request along with your home address to email@example.com.
Write this information down so it’s available whenever you need it!
Determine the Issues You Want to Discuss
Your legislators want to know about the issues that are important to you. Some of the issues IOMS is tracking include:
- Extending the Medical Practice Act
- Scope of Practice Issues
- Hepatitis C Screening
Craft Your Message. Be Clear and Concise
You do not need to write long messages or have a full speech prepared when you reach out to your legislator. It helps to reference a particular bill or issue in your communications. Below is a sample message.
“Hello, name is ___________ and I am a physician in your district. I believe that access to high quality, affordable health care is important for everyone in our state. For years, the ability of Illinois physicians to practice medicine has been in jeopardy if the Medical Practice Act is allowed to expire. The Act expires on December 31, 2014. I ask that you support extending the Illinois Medical Practice Act for 10 years, so we longer have to worry about this on an annual basis.
I also encourage you to consider scope of practice issues in the context of education and training. While there are many talented and dedicated allied health providers in our state, they do not undergo the same training and continuous education as physicians.
Finally, I encourage the legislature not to mandate medical protocols such as testing of all patients for Hepatitis C and other conditions. Mass screening is very expensive. Physicians are trained to account for various risk factors that indicate when testing is needed.”
Follow Your Legislator
It’s important to keep up to date on how your legislator is voting on issues that matter to you. Sign up for email updates; “like” their Facebook page; follow him or her on Twitter.
If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact IOMS.