Some Tips About Meeting Legislators
First, let your NCPA Government Affairs team in Washington, D.C. know that you have scheduled a meeting. Call (703) 683-8200. They can provide you with valuable information about the legislator and his or her positions. Your state association can provide the same type of assistance when you are planning to meet a state legislator.
Setting the Meeting
Tips for a Successful Meeting
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PHARMACY VISIT
How to secure a pharmacy visit: If you would like to host a pharmacy visit, you can contact the elected officials' district office and extend an invitation for the official to tour your pharmacy. Be flexible with dates and times and realize that elected officials spend much of their time at the capitol and have limited time back in the district.
Additionally, please let our government affairs staff know you would like to host a visit. NCPA receives requests directly from members of Congress asking for help in arranging a pharmacy tour during their recess periods, and if we are already aware of your interest we can help direct the member to your pharmacy if their office calls.
What Activities to Prepare: Nothing elaborate or "staged." A simple familiarization tour of the daily workings of a community pharmacy is informative enough. Interaction with patients and staff is essential—maybe joining the pharmacist behind the prescription counter to chat with patients. It is sometimes a good idea to arrange an opportunity for the visiting legislator to speak to an assembled group of employees and patients. If there is an opportunity for a group of Medicare patients (for example) to hear a short speech by the elected official, this will be much appreciated. You may be able to tie the visit to another community or seniors' event.
Make sure you have a camera on hand and take pictures of the member of Congress interacting with your staff and patients. Please email copies of any photos to NCPA.
Make Time for a Personal Meeting: Set aside some time in your tour schedule for a one-on-one talk with your visitor about some critical issues facing community pharmacy. This helps build your personal relationship with the legislator, and it helps establish you as an information resource on health care issues.
Questions to Expect and Materials to Prepare: Be prepared for questions from the legislator and expect the staff people, who usually come along, to take notes and learn from the experience. Know the number of your patients you serve monthly, how many are on Medicaid and Medicare and other basic community service data for your pharmacy(ies). Include this data in a printed Pharmacy Profile to hand out to the legislator and their staff members.
How to Conduct the Tour: Act naturally, as with any other visitor. Don't lobby them too much with political issues, but do save some time during their visit to raise community pharmacy's issues. Just seeing your daily operations should ensure that the legislator never looks at community pharmacy care in the same way as before the tour. You will have achieved your purpose and established yourself even more as an "expert" resource.
Follow Up-Following the tour; be sure to follow up with the office with a personalized thank you note and a thank you email to staff. Also contact NCPA and provide a brief recount on the tour. Be sure to include, what staff, if any, accompanied the member of Congress, the issues you discussed and any feedback you received from the member. Also please send us any photos you took.
Do you have questions? Call NCPA's government affairs department at (703) 683-8200.
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