October 2004

Catholic Health Initiatives Enters Age of E-Advocacy

Catholic Health Initiatives has introduced a new, Web-based tool that makes it easier for employees to participate in legislative advocacy at the state and federal levels .

The new Legislative Advocacy Center, accessible from the Catholic Health Initiatives Web site, automatically matches registered users with their state and federal representatives. With just a few clicks, a user can quickly communicate with legislators on priority issues.

The Legislative Advocacy Center provides registered users with a variety of effectively worded form letters on current issues, such as nursing workforce development programs and medical liability reform. Users can also compose their own letters on specific topics.

"The center makes it easy and convenient for employees, board members, physicians and others associated with Catholic Health Initiatives to have their voices heard by policy makers," said Marcia Desmond, director of public policy for Catholic Health Initiatives.

The center runs on government relations software that is also used by the Catholic Health Association and the American Hospital Association. "However, we custom-designed the screens and many of the functions specifically for Catholic Health Initiatives," said Desmond. "We also performed a great deal of field testing to ensure ease of use."

According to Desmond, this type of tool takes excellent advantage of Catholic Health Initiatives' size and scope. ''Across the country, Catholic Health Initiatives has more than 65,000 employees with views on and experiences with health care that legislators need to hear," she said. "Our input is needed in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across the country
to help legislators understand the health care needs of our communities and shape effective public policy."

To visit the Legislative Advocacy Center, log on to Catholic Health Initiatives' Web site at www.catholichealthinit.org, then click "Advocacy" on the left-side navigation menu. Click the "EAdvocacy" link to open a log in and registration page. Registration is available to Catholic Health Initiatives employees, physicians, trustees, volunteers and members of participating congregations.

For more information, contact Marcia Desmond at marciadesmond@catholichealth.net.