May 17-18, 2022
(Tentative Program Agenda)
Leadership Day 2022 will be held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC on May 17-18, 2022. One of the highlights of this event is having our members meet with their members of Congress and their staff. To help you prepare/know what to expect for your meetings, we have developed this document to address the logistics and process for the set-up of the meetings. These FAQs are current as of April 11, 2022 and will be updated regularly as circumstances evolve.
1. How will congressional meetings work?
Due to evolving circumstances surrounding the current public health emergency and enhanced security protocols on Capitol Hill, congressional meetings will be scheduled for chapters by ACP national, but the format of those meetings will be dictated by each congressional office as either in-person or virtual, with a maximum of 15 chapter members allowed in any in-person meeting in the House of Representatives, and a maximum of nine members in any in-person meeting in the U.S. Senate. We do anticipate these attendance thresholds to be relaxed to some degree as we get closer to Leadership Day, if circumstances allow. As a result, chapters should expect a mix of both in-person and virtual meetings. Our scheduler will make every effort to choregraph chapter meeting schedules so members can adequately adjust to needing to be physically on Capitol Hill for a meeting versus in a quiet location elsewhere to take a meeting virtually. Current security protocols will not allow us to have a reserved hospitality room where members can congregate on Capitol Hill in between in-person meetings, and members will not be allowed to roam the halls of congressional office buildings; however, ACP will have space available for members to take virtual meetings, either at the Mandarin Hotel or in ACP’s office building, both of which are in close proximity to congressional offices.
2. What are the security/COVID-related protocols in place on Capitol Hill?
Please note that the following protocols are subject to change as we get closer to Leadership Day based on evolving circumstances on Capitol Hill.
- Each office has the discretion to accept the meeting as in-person or not.
- Proof of COVID vaccination required for some offices, so please bring proof of vaccination.
- Security check-in stations instituted at entrances in all office House/Senate/Capitol buildings.
- All attendees for in-person Hill meetings must stop at check-in station, present ID, receive Hill pass with building/floor/meeting destination.
- Congressional staff must physically go down to the check-in station to receive attendees for meetings; escort them back down to check-in following meeting.
- Attendees need to stop at check-in station after EACH congressional meeting for a Hall pass.
- The maximum number of attendees allowed in per office is 15 in House meetings, and a maximum of nine in Senate meetings. Hill offices will not accommodate a meeting that has both in-person attendees and a laptop in the meeting for anyone wanting to attend virtually.
- Attendees may not loiter in the hallways or cafeterias between meetings.
3. How is ACP national scheduling meetings?
ACP national works with an outside consulting firm to schedule meetings with members of Congress. You will be put in teams with other ACP members based on your home and work addresses, with consideration given to existing relationships you may have with members of Congress. The number of congressional meetings scheduled for you will be based on your state/district, and we will try to ensure the greatest quantity of meetings possible for your chapter.
If registered for the event, at the appropriate time, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org which will give you access to a Web-based Portal where you can access your congressional meeting schedule, which is in a user-friendly format. This email will provide you with temporary login credentials to access your Portal and you will then be prompted to create your own secure password. This will make it easy to access your Portal on multiple devices. Our scheduler will request that all congressional meeting be in-person, but there will be some meetings that will be virtual, since/given that some congressional offices may not take in-person meetings. A dial-in/video link for any virtual congressional meetings will be accessible within the schedule. Other resources will be made available within the Portal, such as electronic issue briefs on ACP’s advocacy priorities, helpful background materials on your lawmakers, as well as other planning materials. If there is a change to any of your meetings, you will receive an electronic notification of the change via email.
4. When will I receive my schedule?
Initial meeting schedules will be emailed to registrants by Wednesday, May 11 with updates provided as necessary.
5. What if I haven’t received my schedule?
Your schedule will be emailed to you from email@example.com. Please check your SPAM folder and verify the accuracy of the email address you provided when you registered. If your schedule is not in your SPAM folder as of May 11, please contact Shuan Tomlinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. What is the time commitment for me to participate in Leadership Day event?
Leadership Day is on May 17-18. We recommend that all Leadership Day participants attend both days of the event (not just the day of the congressional meetings) in order to hear about ACP messaging and priorities.
7. How should you plan for speaking roles for your chapter members during your congressional meetings?
Each meeting could last a minimum of 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes depending on the congressional office and whether that meeting is with the lawmaker or just staff. Depending on the size of your group, not everyone will be able to speak at each meeting. If you have a large chapter delegation, with perhaps many participating in a single meeting, we recommend that you coordinate beforehand on whom among you may take the lead role and what issues each of you will cover (briefly). If your meeting is virtual, we recommend that each state delegation enter the audio/Zoom meeting 5 minutes before the start of each meeting (and only 5 minutes before please as Zoom lines will be shared/occupied throughout that day) to quickly verify among you the roles each will take in the meeting.
8. Are there breaks between meetings?
As much as possible, our practice will be to schedule your meetings with at least one hour between “start times” anticipating up to 30 minutes per meeting with excess time allotted in case a meeting runs longer. Our scheduler will be adjusting starting times based on whether meetings are in-person or virtual and will attempt to “batch” virtual meetings times to minimize back-and-forth travel to Capitol Hill.
9. Will I actually meet with members of Congress?
When meeting requests are submitted to congressional offices, those requests are first made with the lawmaker with the understanding that the lawmaker might not be available but that the policy/legislative staff may attend either with or in place of the lawmaker. Meetings scheduled with just congressional staff should not be looked upon disfavorably as those individuals are typically experts on the issues and can advise you and the member accordingly.
10. Will I have access to leave-behinds documents/issue briefs to give to my members of Congress?
Yes. Our traditional Leadership Day “leave-behind” documents will be referred to as issue briefs that can be submitted electronically to congressional offices. You will have access to these issue briefs in the Web-based portal as referred to above, and they will be available on the Leadership Day webpage and in the Leadership Day HUB.
11. How exactly will I submit the issue brief documents to congressional offices?
There will be available a “Thank you note” feature within the Web-based portal that will be prepopulated with the email of each respective congressional office with a prepopulated thank you note message (that can be customized) AND will contain an embedded link with ALL of the issue briefs. We recommend you use this feature and send this email message to congressional staff after each meeting.
12. What if my availability changes?
Please let us know, as soon as possible, if you are no longer able to participate in any or certain meetings, especially if you might be the only one from your chapter scheduled to attend. If you are unable to participate, please contact Shuan Tomlinson at email@example.com or 800-338-2746 ext. 4547.
13. How can I prepare to meet with my lawmakers?
The Web-based portal referred to above will give you access to specific resources that will help you prepare. These include: issues briefs outlining ACP’s asks of Congress, a list of bills supported by ACP, the makeup of key congressional committees, links to websites/social media for your lawmakers, and tips on advocacy. These materials will also be posted on the Leadership Day webpage and in the Leadership Day HUB.
On May 17th, the day before you meet with your members of Congress, ACP national will provide educational briefings on ACP priorities issues, advocacy training, and a demonstration of the congressional meeting platform. Your ACP Chapter may also decide to host additional preparation/training calls in advance of the event on your own.
14. What is the appropriate dress code for my meetings with my member of Congress?
We recommend that you dress in typical business attire for your meetings. The idea is to make the best possible impression.
15. How do I easily provide feedback to ACP national staff and my chapter leaders about each of my meetings?
An electronic “meeting reporting form” will be available for participants within the Web-based portal so you can easily provide feedback to us after each meeting. We recommend doing this as soon as possible after each meeting while the contents/discussion is still fresh in your mind. You might also want to schedule a chapter “debriefing” session on your own as a follow-up to the event.
16. Is there any electronic mechanism for me to communicate with other members of my chapter who are participating with me in virtual meetings?
Yes. There is a secure peer-to-peer chat function within the Web-based portal that will allow you to connect/communicate with other chapter participants.
17. Will I get a preview of the Web-based portal in advance so I understand the electronic format and can get accustomed to the interface?
Yes. We will make the Web-based portal available in advance once schedules and materials come together so you can familiarize yourself with the set-up. We will also do a live demonstration of the portal during the “advocacy workshop,” which is scheduled for 10am ET on May 17th.
18. What if a member participating in Leadership Day personally disagrees with one or more of the ACP’s policies selected for advocacy during the event?
With a diverse membership of more than 161,000 internal medicine physician specialists, and medical student members, we understand that not every member will agree with every aspect of ACP policy. Yet our policy development process, ensures that the diversity of membership views are considered throughout the process. While we strive to select issues for Leadership Day that can enjoy the broadest possible support from our members participating in the event, and from members of Congress of both political parties, there may be times when an issue is selected that an ACP member-participant disagrees with. In such situations, we do not expect that the participant will advocate for a position that they can’t support, but we do ask that they not advocate against ACP policy in their conversations with lawmakers and staff, since this would hurt ACP’s influence by signaling lack of unity among our membership. In such cases, we would encourage other members from their state to speak in support of ACP’s legislative “asks”. Members who disagree with ACP policy on a given issue can seek to have it changed through resolutions from their chapter to the Board of Governors; Leadership Day itself, since it is not a policy-making body or event, has no ability to change adopted ACP policies.
19. What happens if an issue ACP has selected for Leadership Day is one that may not be well-received by some members of Congress, because they disagree with ACP’s recommendations? Should it still be brought up in meetings with them?
Congress can be highly partisan and polarized, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike often at odds, and with limited willingness by them to compromise and find common ground. Yet ACP has found that despite such disagreements, we have been successful in advancing our agenda with bipartisan support, on a variety of issues. We always seek to bring forward to Leadership Day a non-partisan agenda that will enjoy support across the political aisle. Yet there will be times when an issue is so important to ACP, its members, and patients, that we are obligated to advocate for it during Leadership Day, even though it may be more, or less, well-received by some members of Congress depending on their own partisan identity and ideological orientation. In these and all cases, we make our arguments based on ACP policy, evidence, and the experiences of our members, not politics or partisanship. Even if we don’t persuade an individual lawmaker to support our policy on a given issue, we anticipate that we will find common ground on other issues on our Leadership Day agenda. We fully understand if Leadership Day participants want to put more emphasis on issues that their own legislators may be amendable to; ACP staff will provide tips the day before the visits on how to handle such situations when they come up.