Want to give your legislator a piece of your mind? You’ll have your chance next week, when the National Association for Home Care & Hospice holds its Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.

It marks the organization’s first in-person national advocacy event since the pandemic began. Those who can’t go can still participate in the event virtually. More than 100 people are expected to attend and many more are planning to be there via the internet, Tom Threlkeld, NAHC spokesman, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse.

There are more than enough issues to talk about — be it workforce challenges, Medicare payment cuts, passage of Better Care Better Jobs or a crackdown on hospice malfeasance.

“The advocacy day is a combination of advocacy and education,” Bill Dombi, president of NAHC, said during a webinar Thursday sponsored by MissionCare Collective. He added that schooling new members of Congress about home care and its importance is a key part of the day.

Above all, the fly-in offers a golden opportunity to tell your stories, NAHC advocacy leaders said. The stories can be about how home care is making a difference in your community or how the workforce crisis has affected your firm. The tales inevitably will come with an ask: Would you pass this piece of legislation? Would you consider our industry’s needs during budget reconciliation?

When you make a request, it helps to come armed with data, which can be as simple as a home care firm’s experience with the labor shortage.

“Even an informal survey is helpful,” noted Davis Baird, NAHC’s director of government affairs for hospice, who noted that “you don’t need the gold standard peer-reviewed article” to back up your request.

There is also some etiquette involved with lawmaker conversations, advocacy leaders pointed out during the webinar. Among them: Have a unified message with your peers, be concise, speak in simple language and tell the truth.

Regarding the latter, don’t take it too seriously. In other words, you may not want to truly tell your lawmaker what you think of them or Congress. It may be best to keep that to yourself.

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected].