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Thursday Mar 19, 2020

How to tell policymakers what you need to fight COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a slew of concerns for family physicians, from shortages of tests and protective equipment, to confusion about insurance coverage for telemedicine, to worries about the overall preparedness of our national health infrastructure for this crisis and the next.

Telling state or federal representatives what’s going on in your practices can not only make them better informed, but also help ward off feelings of helplessness.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has compiled a COVID-19 Advocacy Toolkit with several ways to weigh in:

1. Visit your representatives’ webpages to get updates and contact information. This online tool(www.usa.gov) can help you find out who represents you at the local, state, and federal level.

2. Participate in a townhall. Although large gatherings are now on hold, members of Congress will still probably hold virtual townhalls. Their webpages may allow you to sign up for email alerts about these events.

3. Send a Speak Out letter. Speak Out is an online tool that automatically creates form letters on specific topics that AAFP members can edit to fit their needs. It also uses members’ addresses to send the letter to their federal representatives. The AAFP has created a form letter seeking better coordination for the COVID-19 response(www.votervoice.net).

4. Follow and engage with elected officials and public health leaders on social media. Tools like Facebook and Twitter may be the quickest way to receive the latest updates about the COVID-19 response. They also are a direct and public way of reaching those officials, or at least their office staff. The AAFP recommends following these Twitter accounts: @WHO(twitter.com), @HHSgov(twitter.com), @CDCgov(twitter.com), @CMSgov(twitter.com), @US_FDA(twitter.com), @Surgeon_General(twitter.com), @SecAzar(twitter.com), @CDCDirector(twitter.com), and @SeemaCMS(twitter.com).

For additional resources, visit the AAFP’s COVID-19 resource page.

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Posted at 04:00PM Mar 19, 2020 by FPM Editors

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