TCAA Advocacy Day

Recap from February 22-23, 2021

On February 22-23, 2021, I had the opportunity to represent the Society of Trauma Nurses in the Trauma Center Association of America’s (TCAA) first-ever Virtual Advocacy Institute and Lobby Day. This was my inaugural experience in the traditional in-person Capitol Hill meeting process, and being completely honest, I was not sure what to expect. Looking back, this was a most-rewarding event and one that I highly recommend to anyone who gets the opportunity.

In preparation for the experience, I attended the Trauma Advocacy Institute, where the participant expectations and advocacy platforms were explained. This included education on: Federal updates and Outlook, Trauma Center Legislative Requests, Virtual Lobbying 101, and itinerary plans including team bios. Members from fifteen trauma and EMS organizations participated and were divided based on geographic locations. I was placed into a team with five other Trauma Leaders and Trauma Programs located in MA, NJ, NY, PA and VA. Additionally, a trauma survivor from NY joined to share a personal perspective.

Over the two-day process, teams virtually traveled to fifty-two Congressional Offices. Our group we met with eight members of Congress and/or Staff Representatives. This volume of meetings was positively impacted from the typical two-to-three sessions per day that were normally scheduled. One advantage of the virtual platform is the elimination of travel time from Capitol Hill building to building. We could do each visit from the comfort of our own offices, therefore allowing a greater volume of scheduled appointments. The Representatives were attentive and truly engaged in conversations. Our group offered discussions that were tailored to the constituents and special interests. Each member of our expert panel provided perspectives on the impact of trauma care.

Advocacy priorities included requesting Congress to provide the previously appropriated funding ($11.5 million) for “Mission Zero” to allow military and civilian trauma professionals in hospitals to harness the benefits of this unprecedented and innovative program. This important initiative would allow civilians to learn more about military best practices and give military trauma care providers the opportunity to utilize their cutting-edge expertise in busy trauma centers. Although this act was authorized last year, the funding was not fully appropriated.

The second request resulted from Congress’s recognized need to authorize grant programs to fund activities necessary to maintain trauma care infrastructure, such as staffing, training, technology, surge capacity, data collection, regional and state coordination, and other uncompensated costs associated with maintaining a 24-hour state of readiness and response. We asked the affirmation of the federal government’s commitment to ensure that all Americans have access to life-saving trauma care by supporting forthcoming legislation to modernize and authorize funding for existing trauma care and systems grant programs in the Public Health Service Act.

It was an honor to speak to Representatives on issues that we are so passionate about. It was impressive to hear their sincere appreciation of our stories and our requests. Follow-up emails were sent to each representative, including the invitation to visit any one of our trauma centers. Although this was my first time, I hope it’s not my last! Thank you STN for the honor of representing trauma systems and trauma nurses on the Federal level!

Amy Krichten, MSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, STN President-Elect

Pictured: Maria McMahon (STN -MA), Sue Prentiss (ATS -MA), Amy Krichten (STN-PA), Thomas Myers (Trauma Survivor-NY), Ross Malloy (TCAA-NJ), Francesca Sullivan (TPM - Queens NY) and Crystal Grant, Legislative Fellow in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office.