Legislation & Advocacy
Photo by Esther Thatcher
In collaboration with the National Rural Health Association, VRHA works with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels to help them understand how the decisions they make affect the quality of health care provided in rural Virginia.
Advocacy for rural health is very important - you are the voice for your community and it is your efforts that can assist in improving their health. Whether you realize it or not, every day rural health care is impacted by laws and regulations made in Richmond and Washington, DC. It is essential that you play a role in this process so that your views are taken into account through advocacy efforts.
Advocacy is simple; it is an action taken by individuals, groups, or organizations to defend, support, protect, or enhance policies that they consider important. Individuals advocate all the time. Every time you speak with your organization's board of directors about a project in your facility or talk with your neighbors about where to take their daughter for proper treatment, you are advocating for health care.
VRHA encourages you to take your local advocacy effort, and add your voice to the state and national level since so many policies are decided in Richmond and Washington, DC. This does not need to be a formal, planned event. It is and can be the informal communication of an idea - even at the federal level. In doing so, your voice will be heard and your efforts will not go unnoticed.
Policymakers may seem to just be focused on issues on Capitol Hill, but they are not. Lawmakers want to do what is right for your community and for rural health. They want to understand your concerns and want to provide policies that satisfy your passions. They want to hear about why you think a policy change is needed or why a certain law has had a negative impact on your community. They just need direction from their constituents. Grassroots advocacy can provide such a path and its importance cannot be overstated.