South Florida Hospital News
Monday May 25, 2020
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January 2007 - Volume 3 - Issue 7

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Business Muse - Reflections on the Business of Healthcare Delivery

Providers Need to Participate in Politics

What I am referring to in the title is not to participate as a Republican or a Democrat or even as an Independent, but to become a part of the process. The following is my observations and opinions based on involvement in politics and with politicians over a good number of years.

All politicians know that they need to satisfy their party base to get elected and more importantly raise the capital to run. But they also know that they need the more moderate voters as well as they need to attract many crossover voters to win. That is why if you send a check or a letter they donít ask for your party registration, they are happy you are behind them.

Letters are the lifeblood of a political district. By gauging the mail and now email, and the way the sentiment expressed appears to be running, a politician can judge what are the issues and needs of the people that keep him in office earning his living.

Politicians believe that if you sit down and compose a letter you are very interested in the matter addressed. It takes time, commitment and desire to write a communication. Talk is easy and usually not reviewed and reworked the way a written communication is.

It is equally necessary to understand that politicians are volume feeders. If an issue is upfront the volume of mail is much greater than that regarding another issue. Politicians prioritize what fights to fight on this basis. This where their staff performs for them

The staff (and sometimes the politician) read many of the letters received. They will then determine how the sentiment is running on a particular issue, and estimate its importance based upon the volume of mail being received on that issue. Donít believe this doesnít matter. It does. Entering the fray on the right side of an issue (as decided by the mail sentiment) plays well back home where the votes are counted. The old adage that "the squeaky wheel gets oiled" is not without merit.

That brings me to a matter of utmost importance currently to all providers. The current severe decrease in Medicare reimbursements is not written in stone as you may think. The current congress is struggling with the matter and it appears to be heeding the sentiment of those who are writing to them and are looking to create a better payment scheme and also holding off on such a drastic decrease in payments. Your letters on this do matter. Send emails to all in Congress. It doesnít matter if it is the same email used regularly, broadcast it every couple of days to all in Congress. Print a general letter for your patients to sign. Bulk mail these letters every couple of days. For the reasons discussed above this can help your cause. It is your livelihood and that of your staff. Engage their help in this campaign.

You will be amazed at the results of a grassroots letter campaign. Donít become caught in the inertia that providers make too much as it is, so the politicians wonít care. This is not true. If it were Congress would not be leaning toward a remedy and holding off on the payment cuts as a response to what they are already hearing. More is better.

Write the letters. Send the emails. Become part of the process. Think like one of the lotto slogans, "You have to be in it to win it".

PHC solicits and appreciates questions of a business nature relating to the health services industry to address in future columns. Please address your questions to PHC Practice Development Advisors at info@myphcadvisor.com or fax (561) 799-4092.
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