The Coalition to Improve Healthcare Staffing (CTIHS) is looking to add additional members to its ranks. Our goal is solely to increase visa options for Healthcare workers. Toward that end we are seeking to raise considerable funds and add new members to help broadcast the message to Congressmen, Senators, and the general public.
At our December 11, 2008 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., the CTIHS set a target goal as our lobbying budget for the first half of 2008. We have also identified a second target as our success fee goal for 2008. The success fee will be paid to our lobbying team only if the legislation is successfully enacted. 2007
The CTIHS raised enough money in 2007 to pay for two lobbying teams. Both contracts expire on January 1, 2008. Unless new contracts are signed with new lobbyists, we will not have any lobbyists in 2008.
Both lobbyists met with a variety of CTIHS members in Washington DC. They set up meetings and attended others with members. Both lobbying teams liaised with the AHA and other similarly interested users of healthcare staffing. Both lobbying teams updated and educated members via teleconference and email.
The CTIHS’ overall goal, the passage of a pro-Schedule A immigration visa bill or amendment, was not met in 2007. However one major success was achieved: in October 2007 the Senate unanimously approved our amendment. This was the only positive piece of immigration legislation passed by either house of Congress in 2007. It was a very big accomplishment.
Leveraging our 2007 success
There is a very real chance that healthcare immigration friendly legislation is passed in 2007. We are currently targeting two efforts:
1. Recapture of 61,000 visas. This is the legislation that was passed by the Senate in October 2007. We have personally met with many of the main players in the House of Representatives, including Rep. Pelosi, who is the Speaker of the House, and Rep. Lofgren, who chairs the Immigration subcommittee. These offices have told us that they believe that there is a real chance for our legislation to be enacted in the first quarter of 2008.
2. Elimination of the Schedule A Visa quota through larger Business Immigration Reform. Very recently we have heard of a revival of the Strive Act. This Act calls for several pro-business visa quota increases. The original Strive Act called for the elimination of the Schedule A visa quota for 10 years. At least one staffer has told us that this is being reconsidered for early 2008, although it may be scaled down from 10 years.
Strategy for 2008
Lobbying and supporting lobbyists for immigration legislation is not for the faint of heart. Immigration is a hot button issue in Washington DC; the issue is often tied up in the Mexican undocumented worker phenomenon. That having been said, our opportunity is now and is very real. Our issue has traction in Washington. There is a lot of pressure on Congress to enact business-friendly immigration in the first half of 2008. The conventional wisdom is that virtually no legislation will pass in late 2008, as the politicians’ focus will be squarely on the Presidential election. Therefore we must act quickly.
The CTIHS looks to bring on a lobbying team who can insure that our success in the Senate is not squandered. We need to continue to reach out to friendly Senators and let them know that we need them to keep pushing our legislation.
We also look to shore up support in the House. We have not yet fully identified Representatives who will lead the effort to the same degree as Sens. Schumer and Hutchison. We will also need lobbyists who can help us identify groups of Representatives who may not be friendly to our aims. We will then look to educate those Representatives about the nursing shortage and our proposed partial solution to the shortage as it impacts their constituents.
To make sure that we have a comprehensive strategy, CTIHS has created a committee of four individuals that will work directly with the lobbyists and then circulate bi-weekly updates to the Coalition. The group is charged with the following duties:
• Develop a strategy for the House and the Senate
• Identify possible legislative vehicles, in addition to a stand alone bill
• Work on developing other association support in addition to the AHA, such as the AARP, AMA and ANA
• Continually reassess the strategy and communicate to the Coalition
• Suggest media opportunities, if applicable, to create additional awareness of the issue
Who do we want to hire in 2008?
At the annual meeting, the CTIHS voted to continue our relationship with one of our lobbyists and to hire a new second lobbyist. If you are interested in knowing the names and biographies of those lobbyists, please email Chris Musillo firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding the CTIHS effort
The CTIHS will require considerable regular funds, and funds pledged toward the success fee. In 2007, we received contributions from almost 50 entities, including some of the largest healthcare staffing companies, hospital groups, recruiters, and law firms. The average contribution was over $2,500. The contributions ranged from $500 – $15,000.
We encourage you not to rely on others to carry the financial burden of this effort crucial to all of our businesses. In the past, a few large donations accounted for a large percentage of the funds. It is important to secure pledges within the next 2 weeks so please consider the importance of the lobbying efforts and the success we have already achieved. The nurse recapture amendment was one of only two immigration amendments in 2007; and it was passed by unanimous consent.
How much should I contribute? Your contribution should reflect the fact that Congress is not going to act without being petitioned by lobbyists and users of healthcare. We are already nearly half way to our funding goal. No contribution is too small.
What are the benefits of contributing? Not only will you be helping solve the American nursing shortage by providing the funding for the lobbyists, but you will gain access to our teleconferences, in-person meetings, email list-serv, and personal contact with the lobbying team, including their participation on your calls and meetings with your Congressional representatives. Many members have found that this first-hand information is critical in their business planning.
What about administrative charges? There are very few administrative charges. All members pay for their own expenses and trips to Washington D.C. No members are reimbursed for their time and efforts. No law firm, other than the lobbyists’ firms, takes a fee for their time. In 2007 the Coalition spent less than $5,000 on administrative charges. About $3,500 of the $5,000 was to rent out hotel meeting space for three meetings that we held in Washington D.C. The remaining $1,500 was spent for our teleconferences. All members are provided with an accounting.
How do I send in a contribution? Email Chris Musillo [email@example.com] and let him know: (i) how much you are contributing right now; (ii) how much you will contribute in the next few months; and (iii) how much you are pledging for the success fee goal. Your check should be made payable to “Hammond Law Group, LLC”. Then send your check to:
Christopher T. Musillo, Esq.
Hammond Law Group LLC
3311 Carew Tower
441 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45202