Each summer, the Office of Government Relations travels with patient families to Washington, DC to participate in the Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day. This event is a “big lift” in terms of the work involved in identifying families, arranging travel and meetings and managing a crowd of people, many with special needs, in a city that is 500 miles from home – and usually really hot and muggy in June!
The event offers an important opportunity for us to bring our patients directly to members of Congress, who are making decisions about how children receive care and the institutions that deliver that care. It’s important that Members of Congress hear about public policy from the people who are impacted. It’s important that members of Congress hear about public policy from the people who are impacted.While we can travel to DC ourselves as BCH staff and with our senior leadership to make our case for better public policies for kids (and we do!), there is nothing like taking the patients and their families into a congressional office to make that case for us. In particular, we make a point to regularly travel with families from other states in the New England region to help remind elected officials from the other states that our hospital in Boston plays a significant role in the health care of some of the most vulnerable children in their home state. They need to hear this from their own constituents and our patient families have done a tremendous job of illustrating that role over the years.
The value of the event is evident not just in June, but throughout the year. When we go back to these Members and their staff at other times throughout the year, they remember the families who have come with us. Sometimes we see the Family Advocacy trading cards on the desks of members of Congress. Sometimes they ask us for updates on the health of the kids. And we like to believe that always, these kids stay in their hearts and minds when it is time to take an action that impacts children and those who provide them with care. …Read More