Two Infinity Rehab occupational therapists, Christie Ames and Katie Shuler, joined a group of OT practitioners from across Oregon and descended onto Capitol Square in Salem, OR to raise awareness for the OT profession. The OT practitioners in attendance represented a variety of settings including acute care, long-term acute care, skilled nursing, pediatrics, and school-based therapy as they met with their Senate and House Representatives.
While speaking with each legislator, conversations were sparked about the importance and benefits of OT across all settings in order to maximize outcomes and provide cost effective services so that all individuals can be independent and productive members of society. As guided by the OTAO Legislative Committee Co-chairs, Katie Shuler and Lara Lee-Reavis, OT practitioners highlighted OT’s most pressing legislative priorities in Oregon including access to rural health care, upcoming health care changes (CCO’s), school-based OT caseloads, and OT education costs.
As a result of these conversations, OTAO received several offers from legislators to sponsor bills related to the above issues affecting OT practice in Oregon for the 2017 session. What exciting outcomes for 15 minute meetings with legislators!
In addition to direct legislative advocacy through meeting with legislators, participants earned 6 CEU credits by completing objectives to learn:
- strategies to raise awareness and understanding of the OT profession
- steps in the legislative process
- current legislative issues affecting OT practice in OR
- resources provided by OTAO for legislative advocacy in OR
We look forward to next year’s legislative day during the 2017 legislative session. If you have a specific interest in Rural Loan repayment for OT practitioners or OT school caseload size, please contact Katie Shuler, OTAO Legislative Committee co-chair, as planning for 2017 begins this March!
Meetings occurred with:
Barbara Smith Warner