On Sept. 18 and 19 CHA convened ministry advocates in Washington, D.C, for the 2014 Catholic Legislative Advocacy Conference. Over 70 representatives from Catholic hospitals and systems nationwide gathered to hear updates on key legislative issues from health policy experts and to make over 100 visits to members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill.
During the Hill meetings, conference attendees discussed among other issues three ministry priorities: funding to continue the Children's Health Insurance Program; the importance of preserving current community benefit reporting standards; and support for legislation to boost resources and training in palliative care programs.
CHIP is authorized through 2019 but requires additional funding to continue providing needed coverage beyond Oct. 1, 2015, when the current funding stream is set to expire. CHA and its members advocated for the establishment of CHIP in 1997 and its later expansion and CHA is encouraging Congress to act before the end of the current session to shore up the program's funding.
In a commentary published on the website of Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, CHA's President and Chief Executive Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, wrote that every study of the CHIP program has demonstrated that it has done what Congress envisioned, and done it well.
Ministry advocates meet in Washington
Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., delivered the keynote speech at the 2014 Catholic Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18. He is shown here flanked by CHA Board of Trustees members Deb Fischer-Clemens, left, Avera Health’s senior vice president of the Avera Center for Public Policy; and Julie Manas, president and chief executive of the Western Wisconsin Division of Hospital Sisters Health System. Michael Rodgers, CHA’s senior vice president of advocacy and public policy, is at right.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., reviews information about the Catholic health ministry’s legislative priorities with Deb Fischer-Clemens, senior vice president for Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health’s Avera Center for Public Policy.
Mercy Hospital Fort Smith’s Jared Bryson, left, vice president of mission, and Austin Gaines, center, executive director of Arkansas government relations, discuss the need to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program with Chad Sydnor, legislative assistant for Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
During a panel discussion with senior congressional staff, from left, Karen Fisher of the Senate Finance Committee, Josh Trent of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Cybele Bjorklund of the House Ways and Means Committee offer their perspectives on the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Elizabeth Falcone, left, legislative assistant to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., greets Thom Prevette, director of advocacy and community affairs for Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System in Suffolk, Va., and Lisa Smith, CHA senior director of government relations.
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