You should know who your Senator and Representative are– You can determine this either by Googling “Find my Legislator” on www.malegislature.gov or by downloading this handy DPH Licensed Rest Home by Legislator spreadsheet (recommended). Once you have determined this (you can also refer to previous emails with excel listings) you should make it a point to contact your Senator and your Representative and introduce yourself and your Rest Home. Provide a detailed profile about your Home: how long you have been in existence, how many residents you care for, their ages, how long have they lived there, how many healthcare professionals you employ, as examples.
Invite your Senator and Representative to visit your home (at least annually) – In my dealings with the legislature, many did not know they had a Rest Home in their district let along what a Rest Home does and where it sits on the healthcare continuum. Inviting your Senator and Representative to your Home is a great way for them to see first hand the good works you do on a day in day out basis. In addition, it is a great way for your residents to meet with legislators and for the legislators to meet their constituents. In the visits I have attended, it is the best way to explain to your legislators the challenges that you, the residents and your staff face on a day to day basis without adequate reimbursement. I am available to attend these sessions and/or can prep you for how to hold a Legislator’s Day- an annual event for your Rest Home. (Note: I know some members invite their legislators for holiday events and special occasions. The more they come the better.)
Establish a Resident Letter Writing Campaign – Hand written letters from your residents describing in their own words what it means to be a resident of your Rest Home- their home- is more effective than any email that a Senator or Representative will receive. This statement is based on countless conversations with legislators that have Rest Homes in their respective districts.
Become Politically Active – A way to establish a relationship with legislators is to volunteer on their campaign or contribute financially during their re-election bid. MARCH is NOT able to make political contributions on behalf of any candidate but you as a Rest Home could.
Establish Local Relationships – Grass Roots Advocacy also should be at the local level with your respective Mayor. Selectmen, Trade Associations, Council on Aging/Senior Centers. As Rest Homes are a community based treasure, it is important that your are recognized as a community based asset that plays an important role on the healthcare continuum.