By Paul R. Pace, News staff
NASW is strengthening its government relations strategies for the 114th Congress by teaming up with an award-winning, full-service government relations law firm that prides itself on strong bipartisan relationships in the executive and legislative branches.
The association is working with Polsinelli law firm to energize social work’s policy muscle throughout the U.S., said Heidi McIntosh, NASW’s deputy director of programs.
“The Polsinelli team includes former members of Congress, former in-house counsel of national health care institutions, the Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as former assistant U.S. attorneys,” McIntosh said. “They have offices across the country and they have experts on staff that focus on key issues important to social work.”
Polsinelli recently performed a 90-day assessment of NASW’s federal advocacy efforts through interviews, focus groups, surveys and a webinar with NASW chapters. They found that top issues for NASW stakeholders and members include reimbursement rates; strengthening the role of social workers in the health and human services workforce; integration of the Affordable Care Act; social and economic justice issues; and student loan forgiveness.
“We’ve reached out internally and to members and they told us that these are the issues that are important to them,” McIntosh said.
The report notes that NASW’s membership —132,000-plus members across the U.S. — is powerful tool that shows lawmakers and policy leaders the association has representation in each congressional district, said Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute.
“Polsinelli also recently spoke with the NASW Council of Chapter Executive Directors and explained how NASW can better position itself in policy and regulatory relationships both nationally and through its chapters,” Zlotnik said.
NASW members represent a strong pool to pull from in terms of communicating personal stories and expressing the positive impact of social work, Polsinelli explained in its report.
From the February 2015 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story after logging in.