More than 50 child patients, their families and representatives from children’s hospitals took to Capitol Hill June 25-26. These amazing young advocates asked their lawmakers to make children’s health a national priority, and inspired all those they spoke with to declare “#ISpeakFor children’s health.”
Activities and inspiration
Festivities kicked off on day one with families getting to know one another, and getting their message out on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. During Family Advocacy Day, the major event hashtag, #ISpeakFor, made over 2.3 million impressions across platforms.
Next up was the sightseeing bus tour with a stop by the American History Museum and an interactive briefing to prepare families for their legislative visits the next day. The kids and their parents also cheered as four amazing families received the Mighty Advocate Award for their commitment to advocating on behalf of children’s health and their outstanding work in helping passing the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act. After dinner and a patriotic celebration — complete with a live band, photo booth, games, face painting, superheroes and more — the young advocates were more than ready for a restful night's sleep.
Families rose early on day two to prepare to meet with their members of Congress. More than 220 congressional visits took place as part of Family Advocacy Day. In these meetings, families touched on some specific requests: safeguard Medicaid from cuts that could harm kids—including cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments—increase funding for the bipartisan Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, and prioritize children’s health. Families also thanked Congress for passing the bipartisan ACE Kids Act in early 2019. Children's hospitals are grateful for the bipartisan congressional support of children’s health.
This year’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day yielded nearly 12 million traditional and social media impressions. National coverage included an opinion editorial in Morning Consult by Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital and member of the Children’s Hospital Association Board of Directors, and another in Modern Healthcare by Dr. Kurt Newman, CEO of Children’s National Health System and Chairman at the Children’s Hospital Association Board of Directors. These pieces—in addition to eye-catching advertising and ample social media presence of the event and its superstar child advocates—helped make sure Congress heard the message loud and clear: children’s health must be a national priority.
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