The tools Catholic Health Initiatives’ Advocacy Group has created to assist advocacy leaders throughout the system include two Web-based tools: the e-Advocacy Web site and e-Advocacy Alerts.
“Any Catholic Health Initiatives employee can register to use the e-Advocacy Web site,” said Marcia Desmond, director of public policy for Catholic Health Initiatives. “They can use the site to learn about current advocacy issues; to quickly identify their state and national legislators; and to communicate with legislators about issues of local, state and national importance.” The site provides form letters on specific advocacy issues that employees can customize; or, employees can compose their own letters. The site is accessible through Catholic Health Initiatives’ public web site, catholichealthinitiatives.org, and through the organization’s intranet, Inside CHI.
When a specific advocacy issue becomes ripe for action — for example, when a Congressional vote approaches on legislation important to health care — the national Advocacy Group sends an e-Advocacy Alert via e-mail to market-based chief executive officers, advocacy contacts and members of Catholic Health Initiatives’ National Leadership Team.
“The alerts let this network of leaders know when we need to act quickly to influence congressional action,” said Desmond. “We are enormously grateful to them for calling or sending e-mails and letters to their congressional representatives to urge their support for certain pieces of legislation.” During 2006, Catholic Health Initiatives sent many e-Advocacy Alerts on issues such as budgeting for Medicare, immigration reform and rural health.