Grassroots Advocacy Tool Kit - Courtesy of BMS

Advocacy Is Important in Healthcare

Lobbying involves activities that are in direct support of, or opposition to, a specific legislative or regulatory proposal. While it may be permissible for an advocacy organization to engage in some form of lobbying; however, it is important to remember the IRS has very strict rules about what portion of an organization’s budget can go toward lobbying activities without an organization losing their non-profit, 501 (c)(3) status. Before engaging in any sort of lobbying activities, check the laws in your state to ensure you are in compliance. Research online to learn more about established advocacy organizations that might be tackling an issue that is important to you or a loved one. Often local and national advocacy organizations have their fingers on the pulse of healthcare issues. Seek out advocacy organizations have a track record of looking out for the best interests of patients’ healthcare rights.

Healthcare is a myriad of complex issues. It aims to deliver excellent quality care that should be delivered without disparity. Advocacy in healthcare is one way to ensure that policies and regulations have the outcome that elected officials and regulators initially intended and that patients receive the healthcare they need. With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), there has been a new emphasis on measuring patients’ experiences of care and use of that information to improve care. The ACA encourages healthcare providers and patients to work together to make more informed treatment decisions based on an understanding of available options, each patient’s circumstances, beliefs, and preferences. This is a critical time for patients to be educated and engaged in their own healthcare decision making. Advocacy in healthcare is an important and ongoing process involving many stakeholders. As the healthcare system continues to change, it is important to support and promote patient protections and to oversee healthcare policies and initiatives to ensure sound policy development. Distinguishing Between Advocacy and Lobbying All lobbying is advocacy, but not all advocacy is lobbying. Lobbying is an attempt to influence specific legislation. Advocacy involves a much broader range of activities. Through advocacy, organizations and those they represent can help elected officials find specific solutions to persistent problems. Advocacy organizations can and should take advantage of their ability to advance issues important to their constituents, and education is a critical part of that success.


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