As a new legislative liaison, you are joining a cohort of medical group practice executives from across the country who help their state MGMA members stay apprised of key federal and state healthcare legislative and regulatory news, engage state members in grassroots advocacy to advance MGMA’s policy priorities, and spearhead advocacy initiatives at the state level.
This resource includes suggestions to help you transition successfully into the role of legislative liaison. In addition to the information discussed below, MGMA government affairs staff are available to answer your questions about getting started. Please call us at 202.293.3450 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback.
The Role of the Legislative Liaison
Volunteers in this role wear many hats, and the role of legislative liaison differs across states. The one common thread is that legislative liaisons serve as the primary state MGMA point person who works with national MGMA government affairs to advance advocacy agendas on important policy issues.
The liaison also plays a key role in state advocacy initiatives, as defined by the individual state MGMA. Based on feedback from experienced legislative liaisons, we include suggestions to guide you as you begin to develop and execute your state’s legislative strategy.
Be sure to take advantage of MGMA’s many resources, including:
- MGMA’s Legislative Liaison Center – Review information specifically tailored to assist legislative liaisons in promoting advocacy to best serve their chapters and impact state and federal policy.
- MGMA’s Advocacy Center – Find the resources you need to get started successfully advocating on behalf of your practice and patients.
Five Ways to Get Started Working with MGMA at the Federal Level
- Introduce yourself to MGMA government affairs
Reach out to MGMA government affairs to introduce yourself and set up a time to discuss the role of the legislative liaison. We’re happy to answer any questions that you have, and can direct you to resources to help get started. Keep in mind that if you do not reach out to us, we may not know that you have assumed the role and might not include you on helpful communications, so be sure to pick up the phone or send us an email to say hello!
- Subscribe to and share the Washington Connection with your state members
MGMA government affairs staff closely monitor legislative and regulatory changes that impact members and alert members to upcoming deadlines, advocacy campaigns and other key issues in the weekly Washington Connection e-newsletter. By subscribing, you will be kept apprised of the latest federal health policy issues impacting practices. Legislative liaisons are also encouraged to share this newsletter with state MGMA members as a way to engage them in federal advocacy initiatives and educate them about federal health policy issues impacting group practices. For more information about this benefit, read our Use and Distribution of the MGMA Washington Connection brief.
- Review and bookmark MGMA’s Legislative Liaison Resource Center
A number of helpful resources are at your disposal and can be found at the MGMA Legislative Liaison Center. This list includes the State Legislative Liaison Best Practices, which shares strategies of the most successful state legislative liaisons.
- Utilize the Legislative Liaison Member Community
As a legislative liaison, you have access to the State MGMA Legislative Liaison discussion group, an online platform designed for legislative liaisons to participate in advocacy discussions with fellow liaisons and government affairs staff and share files using the Community library. This online member community is only available to acting state MGMA legislative liaisons and is a great place to learn from your peers, exchange draft legislation and other important documents, and get tips on enhancing your advocacy strategies. To access this community, please contact MGMA government affairs.
- Attend MGMA’s Annual State Leadership Conference
MGMA provides state leaders, including legislative liaisons, with valuable educational and networking opportunities at the annual MGMA State Leadership Conference, which is typically held in Denver each February. During the Conference, you can attend sessions geared specifically toward legislative liaisons, designed to help you develop in your role, learn from other legislative liaisons and gain a deeper understanding of the federal legislative process and MGMA’s federal advocacy initiatives. MGMA encourages all legislative liaisons to take full advantage of all this Conference has to offer and provides some financial support to help defray the cost.
Five Ways to Get Started at the State Level
Because this role varies greatly from state to state based on factors such as the budget and composition of the state MGMA board, as well as the legislative process, there is no single strategy for success at the state level. However, based on the feedback of experienced legislative liaisons, below are suggestions to help you get started.
- Request advice from the previous legislative liaison and seek a mentor
We hope that you will be in a position to learn from the outgoing legislative liaison during a transition period. We encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity and ask for advice from this seasoned advocate! However, in some cases, there is no formal transition process from one liaison to the next. In these situations, it may be beneficial to seek a mentor, such as a former legislative liaison in your state or an experienced legislative liaison from another state MGMA affiliate. If you need assistance finding a mentor, contact MGMA government affairs, and we can help you identify and reach out to a mentor.
- Develop an understanding of your state’s legislative process
A great place to learn about the state legislative process is the state legislature’s website, which generally provides information about how a bill becomes law, your current state legislators, when the legislature is in session, and the status of specific bills.
- Involve state members by educating them about the state legislative process and legislative issues that may impact their practices
In addition to educating state members on federal advocacy and coordinating federal grassroots, another key component of the legislative liaison position includes state advocacy. Encourage participation in the state policy making process to help your state generate feedback about state legislation, identify volunteers to participate in advocacy activities and ultimately increase your state MGMA’s influence at the state capitol.
- Work with state MGMA board members to tailor your state’s advocacy agenda
We recommend that you work closely with state MGMA board members to prioritize issues and develop a legislative strategy. There are many different factors that must be weighed when developing a state legislative process, but all involve commitment and dedication on the part of board leadership.
- Cultivate relationships with the state medical society and other provider associations in your state
One of the best ways to amplify your advocacy reach is to partner with your state medical society and other provider associations who share similar positions on issues. There are additional benefits to collaborating with your state medical society in particular, such as help tracking state legislative activity. Attending their events and inviting them to your own can be a great way to foster and build this relationship.