Calling all Recreational Therapists! Now is the time to act on HR 1906!
Your legislators are in their home districts for the month of August, and throughout the fall until the election. This is an awesome time for you to contact them about HR 1906.
1. SEND AN EMAIL telling your legislator that you want their support for HR 1906… and you want them to cosponsor the bill. There’s a sample email on the ATRA webpage at: https://www.atra-online.com/policy/federal-public-policy
All you have to do is cut and paste it into their online email form, add their name to the top and yours to the bottom. You can also personalize it with a little bit of information about what you do as a recreational therapist. Be sure to send them the letter of support for the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (the rehab doctors’ professional association) – this is a huge group is supporting what we are asking. Everything you need is on that webpage.
2. CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR AND REQUEST TO MEET WITH THEM (or their health policy staff member). Get other recreational therapists or clients to go with you to talk about what you do, and explain the need for their support for HR 1906. We need them to co-sponsor the bill with Representatives GT Thompson (R-PA) and Butterfield (D-NC). If you feel that you need support, call ATRA. Someone from the Board of Directors or the Federal Public Policy team would be happy to talk with you to prepare you before your meeting. We can also conference call into your meeting to help support you while you talk to your legislator. Your legislator WANTS and NEEDS to hear from you, and we will be there to support you.
3. INVITE YOUR LEGISLATOR (AND THOSE RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN THIS ELECTION) TO COME TO YOUR ORGANIZATION. Show them what you do, have them meet your clients, organize a coffee break or give them a chance to give a brief speech. It’s an election year; politicians are eager to get out and shake some hands!
4. ORGANIZE AN EMAIL WRITING CAMPAIGN. Have your clients, patients, residents, family members, neighbors, administrators, colleagues, etc. send an email to their legislators telling them how important recreational therapy is to them. Have them share stories about how recreational therapy has impacted their lives.
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT HR 1906 and the IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCACY. Detailed information on HR 1906 can be found on the ATRA website. HR 1906 is specifically about Medicare in Physical Rehabilitation settings; however, a change in one setting covered by Medicare leads to a change in every setting covered by Medicare… and eventually, other insurers. This is the first step to ensure coverage of recreational therapy and access to our services by those who need it. Ask questions of ATRA’s Public Policy team if you have them. This is your chance to impact the recreational therapy profession!
Check out the H.R.1906 Advocacy Kit on URTA Box for more resources!