You have a voice - now use it

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Q. I’m often asked to call or write my member of Congress about DME issues. But I’m just a small provider with six employees. I don’t carry any weight, so what’s the point?

A. Never underestimate the power of your voice, no matter how small. It’s the relationship that gives you power. One small voice added to another makes two, and those two become 10, and then 100. Before long you become a part of a larger choir of voices telling your member of Congress about the value of home care and how we are part of the solution, not the problem.

Not only that, but your relationships with your members of Congress may be the ones to change their mind, because each of us has a different story to tell. By reaching out to a member of Congress, you may find you have something in common with him/her that strikes a chord. Most legislators were like you before choosing to be a politician: They’re regular people who chose to seek elected office and serve the people because they believed they could make a difference. They went to college, served in the military or worked in the business world. But you won’t know how similar you are to your member of Congress unless you reach out to make the connection. Relationships, like friendships, begin with someone extending a hand to cross the divide. When you do that, suddenly, you might become the person your member of Congress needs to help him/her see that this is an honorable industry made up of good people serving the same people he/she serves in Congress.

So one person can make a difference, and the greatest mistake you can make is not taking the risk of trying. Don’t be intimidated by being a small provider. Your voice is just as powerful as a big company’s, and you might be surprised at the positive response you get from your member of Congress.

Wayne Stanfield is president and CEO of NAIMES. Reach him at 434-572-9457 or