May 23-24, 2023
(Tentative Program Agenda)
Leadership Day 2023 will be held at the Salamander Hotel (formerly the Mandarin Oriental Hotel) in Washington, DC on May 23-24, 2023. The centerpiece of this event are the meetings our members have 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.
1. How will congressional meetings work?
All congressional meetings will be scheduled for attendees and chapters by ACP National. Although the vast majority of congressional offices are taking in-person meetings, as of February 2023, approximately two percent of offices are only conducting virtual meetings. As a result, some attendees may have a mix of both in-person and virtual meetings. Our scheduler will make every effort to choregraph meeting schedules so attendees can adequately adjust to needing to be physically on Capitol Hill for a meeting and if they also need time to get to a quiet location elsewhere to take a meeting virtually. ACP will have space available for virtual meetings, either at the Salamander 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?
Anyone entering a Congressional office building must pass through a security check point with a metal detector and x-ray machine, with rules similar to security screening at airports and other federal buildings. While shoes do not need to be removed, people are encouraged to travel lightly to facilitate a smooth process. The additional security protocols that had been in place during the 117th Congress have been lifted. Once through security screening at the entrance of the House and Senate office buildings, visitors may proceed to their destination without staff escort or pre-registration.
3. How is ACP national scheduling meetings?
ACP national works with an outside consulting firm to schedule meetings with members of Congress. Anyone wanting to participate in congressional meetings must be registered for Leadership Day. Attendees 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 email@example.com which will give you access to a the AdvocacyDay App where you can access your congressional meeting schedule, which is in a user-friendly format. This email will provide you with instructions on how to access the App. If you participated in congressional meetings in 2022, you can use your existing login credentials (there is a Forgot Password feature if needed), otherwise you will sign up as a new user and you will then be prompted to create your own secure password. This will make it easy to access the App on multiple devices. Our scheduler will request that all congressional meeting be in-person, but there may be some meetings that will be virtual, since some congressional offices may not conduct 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 App, 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.
4. When will I receive my schedule?
Initial meeting schedules will be emailed to registrants by Tuesday, May 16 with updates provided as necessary.
5. What if I haven’t received my schedule?
Your schedule will be emailed to you from firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 16, please contact Shuan Tomlinson at email@example.com.
6. What is the time commitment for me to participate in Leadership Day event?
Leadership Day is on May 23-24. 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 approach is 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, they are first made with the lawmaker with the understanding that the lawmaker might not be available, and that the policy/legislative staff may attend either with or in place of the lawmaker. Meetings scheduled with congressional staff should not be looked upon disfavorably as those individuals are typically experts who advise lawmakers on the issues. Congressional staff can also provide you with information on the lawmaker’s position on ACP legislative priorities and relay your story to the lawmaker.
10. Will I have access to leave-behinds documents/issue briefs to give to my members of Congress?
Yes. Every congressional office we meet with should receive one complete set of our “leave-behind” materials. Our traditional Leadership Day “leave-behind” documents (referred to as issue briefs) will be distributed to participants both as a paper handout that can be given to your member or staff during your meetings and electronically on the App that can be submitted electronically to congressional offices. The issue briefs will also be available on the Leadership Day webpage and in the Leadership Day HUB.
11. How exactly will I submit the issue brief documents electronically to congressional offices?
There will be available a “Thank you note” feature within the App 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 attending from your chapter. If you are unable to participate, please contact Shuan Tomlinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-338-2746 ext. 4547.
13. How can I prepare to meet with my lawmakers?
The App 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 23, 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 establish credibility with congressional offices as a potential resource on health care issues.
15. How do I easily provide feedback to ACP national staff and my chapter leaders about each of my meetings?
It is important that you use the electronic “meeting reporting form” in the App, which is a quick and easy way to provide feedback on meetings, including whether follow-up with offices is needed. 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. Will I get a preview of the App in advance so I understand the electronic format and can get accustomed to the interface?
Yes. We will make the App available in advance once schedules and materials come together so you can familiarize yourself with the set-up. There will also be video of how to maneuver through the App .
17. What if a member participating in Leadership Day personally disagrees with one or more of the legislative issues 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 do not 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.”
We also ask that meeting participants only discuss the Leadership Day legislative issues in congressional meetings. Participants can reach out to lawmakers or their staff after Leadership Day if there are other issues they want to discuss.
Additionally, ACP 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.
18. 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 a variety of issues with bipartisan support. We always seek to bring a non-partisan agenda to Leadership Day that will enjoy support across the political aisle. Yet there may 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.