by Michelle Hager, Managing Partner of Blue Cirrus consulting, Past President of South Carolina HIMSS, Past Vice Chair for the East Region for HIMSS chapter advocates
As I was preparing to leave to go to DC for the HIMSS Policy Summit and packing my comfy shoes, I realized that this is my 4th time attending the event! Each year, I am more and more prepared for the discussions with my legislators because of the training and education I receive while there. Once the Hill visits are complete each year, I feel I have made a difference.
Participating in this event has taught me many things, including the value of being:
- invested in the political process,
- an effective constituent, and
- educating my representatives on my profession of health IT.
Before attending the HIMSS public policy event, I wasn’t aware of how much change one organized group of professionals could effect.
I am looking forward, in particular, this year to the speakers. They are always insightful and helpful to me in my own day-to-day work. For example, last year, the Department of Commerce spoke about the funding available to provide connectivity to rural and underserved communities, which had a direct impact on my business and business direction.
As a women-owned small business, I work with government entities and their prime partners to provide services assisting organizations to achieve their goals. One of the areas we work closely in is telemedicine. The work of and funding provided by the Dept of Commerce has a direct impact on the clients I serve. Valuable information I was able to pass on as a result of attending the conference!
This year, the HIMSS Congressional Asks are also exciting to me. Patient access to care and improved outcomes with the use of telemedicine just makes good sense! All of us in the telemedicine business understand that providing care via telemedicine is limited by a number of areas named in the ask, such as reimbursement structure, broadband availability and of course licensure restrictions. Drawing attention to telehealth services and the barriers to provide care is for patients and their families.
My goal during my legislative visits is to explain the congressional asks and emphasize the need for the expansion of teleheath services by identifying a personal story to tell. As a small business owner bringing jobs to my state, I have a unique opportunity to explain my perspective and how these services have a direct impact to jobs in my state and the cost and quality of care for the patient.
I would encourage any HIMSS member to attend the public policy event at least once and bring comfortable shoes. I know you will be hooked and keep coming back each year. Being part of the national conversation and effecting change in my state is very rewarding.