NCANA Key Contact Duties 2021-2022

As a CRNA you are the expert in anesthesia practice.

Our legislators come from a variety of professional backgrounds. They are farmers, insurance agents, morticians, real estate agents, lawyers, small business owners, and teachers. There are currently three nurses serving in the NC General Assembly (NCGA) and one physician.

There are zero CRNAs.

Legislators want to make informed decisions about healthcare or any other legislation that crosses their desks so that they are developing sound public policy. It is incumbent upon CRNAs to provide legislators with truthful, accurate, and easy to understand information about legislation that affects their patients and their practice. If we don’t, who will?

NCANA’s Key Contacts are crucial members of the legislative team. Key contacts will:

1. Develop and maintain relationships with their legislators (NC House and/or NC Senate members) to educate them about CRNAs, their practice, and their value to the healthcare system.

2. Typically initiate quarterly to semi-annual contact with the legislator to update them on CRNA practice developments in their district and the state as well as serving as an information resource. This can be accomplished via emails, phone calls, or meetings in the district or at the General Assembly. The goal is to have the legislator call the Key Contact when they have questions about bills containing language affecting healthcare in general, nursing, or CRNA practice. Finally, the relationship cannot be a one-way street – ask if there is anything that you can do for them.

3. Educate legislators about bills that affect CRNA practice using information and materials provided by NCANA and in consultation with the GRC and NCANA’s lobbyists. This may involve, asking the legislator to co-sponsor or oppose a particular bill, updating the legislator about a bill’s progress, informing the legislator of committee hearings about the bill – especially if the legislator is a member of the committee.

4. On average, Key Contacts can expect to spend 10 to 30 minutes a month on these responsibilities. When the legislature is in session and NCANA is advocating or opposing a bill of interest, weekly communication with legislators may be required. When bills are not being considered or if NCANA has no legislation of interest at the NCGA, the only duty of the key contact is to maintain the relationship that they have developed with the legislator.

5. This session most, if not all, meetings with legislators will be conducted via video conference call, Facetime, or phone calls due to COVID 19. This will make meeting with legislators much more convenient but, when there are time sensitive issues, planning will be important. The GRC and lobbyists will give you as much lead time as possible.

Key Contacts will be provided with education, support, talking points, and other resources from NCANA, the GRC, and NCANA’s lobbyists. Our lobbyists are in the legislative building every day that the NCGA is in session and they are always available to answer questions and/or follow up with legislators. They are happy to attend meetings with you. However, like the legislators, they are not CRNAs and have never delivered an anesthetic. While they understand the legislative process and political strategy, they rely on us, the anesthesia experts, to provide legislators with information about our day-to-day practice in layman’s terms. Think of speaking with legislators as akin to speaking with a patient or family member – we are expert communicators as well!

Thank you for serving as a Key Contact and for ensuring that patients will receive access to safe, high-quality, affordable care from CRNAs practicing to the fullest extent of their licenses, education, and training. If you have any questions please contact Kimberly Gordon, NCANA GRC Chair at [email protected] or 336 202-3600.