Opportunity for MS Activist to Network and Visit Capitol Hill
Two years ago, I attended my first National MS Society Public Policy Conference (PPC) in Alexandria, VA. I covered the event for their blog which meant that I always had my computer at my fingertips taking notes and that I had many late nights finishing posts to go up the next morning. Fortunately, I was also able to meet a few folks that I had known in the online world, putting faces to names. Overall, it was an exhausting blast!!
This year, the National MS Society’s Public Policy Conference will held Monday, March 10-Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel (2800 S. Potomac Ave., Arlington, VA). This location is right next to Reagan National Airport, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, and only 10 miles from my home.
I was excited to discover that there are no registration fees to attend the conference this year!!! Registration fees had been as much as $275 in the past, but fees for the 2014 NMSS PPC are $0.00. I thought about that for a moment, checked my calendar, and quickly registered to attend. I already know that a few online blogger friends will be attending and it’s always good to be able to visit our representatives on Capitol Hill.
Each person attending the conference must register via https://www.regonline.com/2014publicpolicyconference by Friday, February 21, 2014. You have until this Friday to sign up. I recommend that you read the detailed registration instructions for additional information (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/government-affairs-and-advocacy/2014-public-policy-conference/download.aspx?id=51348)
When you register, you will be able to sign up to attend one of eight breakfast networking roundtables on Tuesday morning, or you may choose to eat breakfast on your own with no activity/discussion. The Tuesday morning breakfast session topics are Capital Hill advice, advocacy and social media, telling your story, veterans & advocacy, carepartners & advocacy, continuing the advocacy relationship at home, Affordable Care Act and people with MS, the Society’s united state policy agenda, or breakfast with no discussion.
Hotel reservations must also be made by Friday, February 21 through this registration site (http://cwp.marriott.com/waspy/nmssppcmar20) or by calling 1-800-228-9290. If you need an accessible hotel room, you cannot reserve through the hotel’s site or phone line; you must contact Doris Lill (Society home office staff) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-698-6167. The Society’s room rate for the PPC is $280/night.
Plan to arrive at the PPC hotel by 2:30 PM on Monday, March 10. Some advocacy staff must arrive earlier. If you are flying into the DC area, it is strongly recommended that you use Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (airport code "DCA"). There are free accessible and non-accessible shuttles that will travel between Reagan National Airport and the PPC hotel. Shuttle schedules will be posted soon.
If you are driving to the hotel, the fee for on-site daily parking is $26 (valet $30). The nearest Metro Stations are Crystal City and National Airport located approximately 0.8 and 1.5 miles from the hotel, respectively. More information regarding travel arrangements can be found at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/government-affairs-and-advocacy/2014-public-policy-conference/index.aspx.
The agenda and schedule has yet to be posted on the National MS Society’s conference website (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/government-affairs-and-advocacy/2014-public-policy-conference/index.aspx).
Issues to discuss in Capitol Hill visits include urging Congress to:
- Support funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), MS research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Cosponsor a bill that would create a separate benefit in Medicare for complex rehab technology, protecting access to complex rehab power wheelchairs for those with progressive MS (H.R. 942/S. 948).
- Join the Congressional MS Caucus, showing commitment to finding policy solutions to those affected by MS.