Advocacy Sessions Spark Conversations at the 2015 Annual Conference

Friday, May 8, 2015

Effecting policy change through targeted advocacy is a complex process. From launching and implementing a policy initiative to sustaining its success, there are distinct challenges and opportunities at each stage of an effective advocacy campaign.

The LSA Annual Conference session Advocating for Change – the Evolution of a Policy Campaign convened issue area and advocacy experts from within the LSA network and beyond to address this important topic. The panelists discussed the approaches to and phases of a successful campaign, providing attendees with real-world insights on how to transform advocacy into action and platforms into policy.

Knox Kimberly, Vice President of Government and Corporate Relations at Upbring (The New Lutheran Social Services of the South) kicked off the presentation by describing how Upbring is building on its new identity and strategic focus to launch efforts that drive transformative change in breaking the cycle of child abuse.

Jeri Schoonover, Chief Service Officer at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota then reflected on the successful implementation of a 2014 state initiative - the 5% Campaign – which brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to achieve rate increases for home and community based services.

Speaking to the long-term success of a campaign, Rosie Valadez McStay, Director of Government Relations at Community Benefits at Texas Children’s Hospital, discussed how advocates in Texas are working to sustain momentum around and support for the state’s five-year Medicaid demonstration waiver - The Health Care Transformation and Quality Improvement Program - amid the ever-changing political landscape.

To learn more,  download the session power pointhere.


This year’s LSA Disability Network Open Forum, "Opportunities for Innovation with Home and Community Based Services for People with Disabilities and Seniors," allowed attendees to personally engage with government officials and other advocates on the state implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) home and community-based settings regulations. Featuring  Sharon Lewis, Principal Deputy Administrator of the Administration for Community Living, as keynote and Sean Burke, Fellow at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, as a panelist, attendees learned the status of CMS’ approval of current state transition plans and were able to discuss the Administratio's overall goal for community inclusion of people with disabilities and older adults. Further discussions included advocacy strategies that can make reimbursement policies as favorable as possible, drive positive change and promote collaboration between consumers and providers.

All our advocacy panelists did a masterful job covering the key phases in the life cycle of a policy campaign, and of making the process a tangible one by sharing their experiences and lessons learned. Many thanks to our dynamic panelists for sharing their expertise, knowledge, and time!

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