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Stroke Advocacy Network Newsletter


DECEMBER 2012


Medicare Therapy Services Threatened Again

image of Medicare card

Unless Congress takes action before the end of the year, stroke survivors who depend on Medicare will lose access to some outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services. You can help prevent this harmful policy from being implemented. Make your voice heard and contact your members of Congress to urge them to preserve these therapy services for stroke survivors and others who rely on Medicare for their recovery. Take action today!

What the End of the 112th Congress Means for You

Image of December calendarAs 2012 comes to a close, Congress is scrambling to complete its work. It has only this month to resolve as many issues as possible before everything “resets” in January. What does “reset” mean and how does it affect you as a stroke advocate?

Session Structure

The U.S. Congress meets year-round, in contrast to many state legislatures, which meet for only a few months out of the year. The time periods in which they meet are called “sessions,” and the year following an election begins a new session. On the federal level, this session will be the 113th, because it is the 113th time Congress has met for its two-year session since its inception, not because it’s 2013, which is just a coincidence. The 113th Congress will continue through the end of 2014.

The “Starting From the Beginning” Rule

Any legislative initiative (i.e., bill, resolution, etc.) that does not pass within the course of a legislative session must be reintroduced at the start of the next. No bills “carry over” or start in the new session where they left off in the last one. They all start at the beginning. For example, the Heart Disease Education, Analysis, Research and Treatment (or HEART) for Women Act is intended to improve research and treatment of stroke and heart disease among women. It has been reintroduced in every congressional session since the start of the 110th Congress in 2003. The bill has never made it all the way through the legislative process and thus, has to be reintroduced in each successive session.

That’s why your voice as an advocate is so important. Your members of Congress need to hear from you, their constituent, how important bills like these are for the stroke community so they’ll take action to support the bill in the current session.

IN THIS ISSUE

Medicare Therapy Services

112th Congress Ends

Your State Legislature

Stroke Information

• • • • • • • •

iHOPE logo

Help for Survivors

Join us for our next ask-the-experts Q&A session on medication adherence on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at noon EDT. Register today.

 

Free Advocacy Training

Learn how to be an effective stroke advocate. Watch a webinar today!

 

Healthcare Law
and You

How does the federal healthcare law affect you and your family? Find out at www.HealthcareAndYou.org



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Most Bills Don’t Become Law

If you remember your Schoolhouse Rock, you’ll know that the journey from idea to law is arduous. It can take several years for a bill to make it through the legislative process. The vast majority of bills introduced both in Congress and in state legislatures don’t get that far. This means that advocates must build strong relationships with legislators in order to ensure ongoing support for a bill, resolution or other policy idea. One phone call, email or meeting isn’t going to achieve that goal. Advocates for the stroke community must be persistent and vocal about what helps and hurts stroke survivors, caregivers, family members and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Fortunately, the Stroke Advocacy Network is here to help stroke advocates like you make your voice heard.

“Must Pass” Bills

There are a few bills that must pass in some form or another every year. The majority of these are appropriations bills that fund agencies, programs and other activities of the federal government. In the next few months, Congress will be working on the appropriations bills that authorize government spending for the fiscal year that started on Oct. 1, 2012 (yes, they’re a little behind schedule on this task). That’s why you’ll occasionally receive communications from the Stroke Advocacy Network asking you to urge your members of Congress to preserve funding for programs such as stroke-related medical research conducted by the National Institutes of Health. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to respond to the current action alert on this issue!

How do these things impact being an advocate? Sometimes it means that you’ll be asked to tell your story to members of Congress or state legislators. You might be tempted to say “I already talked about that. Why do I need to do it again?” The truth is that the legislative process can be long and legislators hear from thousands of people on a variety of issues every week. The only interests who win are the ones who make their voices heard! The Stroke Advocacy Network is here to help you—members of the stroke community—do just that.

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What’s Happening in Your State Capital in 2013?

graphic of state license platesIn January, the Stroke Advocacy Network is unveiling a new opportunity for our members—the ability to take your advocacy skills and put them to work closer to home in your state capital. The Stroke Advocacy Network will be following legislative activity in every state legislature that’s in session in 2013. What does that mean for you as an advocate for the stroke community? In the State Action Center, you’ll find:

  • Information about stroke-related legislation being considered by your state legislature (updated daily so you’ll always have the most recent and reliable information);
  • Legislative news from your state capital;
  • General information about your state legislature, such as when they’re meeting; and
  • The ability to watch your state legislature debate and vote on bills from the comfort of your own home (on your computer).

Look for more information about the Stroke Advocacy Network’s State Action Center in early January, and get ready to expand your advocacy reach and make your voice heard in your state capital in 2013!

How can you prepare for the 2013 legislative sessions before January? Identify who represents you in Congress and in your state legislature. You can also learn about the legislative process and view one of our online advocacy training sessions to help you learn about advocacy and get tips to make your advocacy activities more effective.

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See and Share Key Stroke Information

thumbnail image of the Stroke InfographicA picture is worth a thousand words. That’s why National Stroke Association has made it so easy for you to share essential stroke information on Facebook, including important warning signs, like severe headaches and slurred speech. Download this graphic and share it with your networks. The more knowledge people have, the more lives will be saved. Once the image opens in your browser, right-click on the image and choose "Save Picture As..." to save a copy to your computer.

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Supported by Allergan, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Inc.,
H. Lundbeck A/S, Janssen Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc.