Minnesota Hospital Association

Policy & Advocacy

Grassroots Resources

Minnesota Hospital Association members play a vital role in helping to shape state and federal health policy. The united voice of Minnesota’s hospitals has proven to be a powerful advocacy force. When hospital leaders work together with a unified message and forward-thinking solutions, we can make a difference in advancing health care policy.

Your relationships with local elected officials are key to MHA’s advocacy efforts. Legislators want to hear from local constituents. They know that voters are concerned about health care issues and they also understand that hospitals are central to health care discussions.

In this section you’ll find grassroots advocacy resources and tips. In addition to direct communications with your legislators, it is also important that you educate your employees, trustees and the communities you serve on pending legislative matters, which will broaden the voice of hospital advocates in St. Paul and Washington, D.C.

Helpful tips for a legislative visit

When inviting your local legislators to the hospital for a meeting, legislators appreciate three things:
  1. Legislators want to see innovative or memorable things that they can share with their colleagues or constituents. It could be the latest technology (such as telemedicine) or a new medical procedure that is improving care in the community. You could also highlight a community partnership such as free flu shots or a community paramedic program. Most important, keep it simple.
  2. Legislators also want to talk to constituents (a.k.a. voters). It is important to find opportunities for the local legislator to talk to some constituents. It could be casually talking to employees while on tour or having a short organized interaction with hospital leadership. Another important opportunity is to take a picture with the legislator and submit it to the local newspaper.
  3. Legislators want you to get to the point and tell them how they can be helpful. Legislators understand why they have been asked to a meeting. Use this opportunity to tell legislators your most pressing concerns, the impact of those concerns on the local hospital or health system, and what they can do to be helpful.     

Things to remember for your visit:     

HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD WE EXPECT OR ASK FOR?
Approximately 60 minutes, depending on format. You should dedicate part of the meeting for a private conversation regarding your specific concerns or needs.  

WHAT IS THE BEST FORMAT?
Every in-district legislative meeting is unique, but there a few ideas to consider:

  • Hospital or clinic tour – particularly useful with newer legislators or if recent changes at the hospital have happened.
  • Roundtable conversation between the hospital CEO and the legislator. Consider inviting other hospital leaders to be included.    
WHO SHOULD WE INVITE?
During the private meeting portion of the visit, there are some key folks to consider inviting:   
  • Board chair or leadership
  • Chief Nursing Officers – provides the perspective of your hospital or health system’s nurses, particularly on mandated staffing ratios
  • Chief Medical Officers – provides the expertise of your hospital or health system’s physicians on quality and safety issues
  • Mental health leaders – if you choose to talk about mental health
  • Director of security – if you choose to talk about hospital security and workplace violence prevention
  • Employees with a close relationship with the legislator