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July 14, 2016

Advocates Unite Against Medical Debt in Annual Patient Congress

2016-07-14 | June 25, 2016

(Washington, DC) — This year the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) made its annual Hill Day a little more personal, by creating a smaller, more targeted event designed to bring the people most affected by medical debt into meetings with those who are best positioned to help.

Congressional staff from Senator Jeff Merkley and Rep. Maxine Waters’ office briefed advocates on two medical debt-related bills: The Medical Debt Relief Act (HR 2364/S 2592) and the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2016 (HR 5282).

Along with learning about legislation, the patients also participated in an interactive session on how to tell a story, including methods for audience engagement.

Building on that knowledge, one participant recalled, during a meeting with Congressional staff, how a sheriff “forced his foot into the front door,” in an attempt to intimidate her after her husband’s death from cancer.

Building on the work that began in DC, advocates later sent almost 200 letters in support of the legislation, increasing valuable cosponsorship to the bills.

“Events like Patient Congress showcase why we are so proud to work with each of our patient advocates,” said Alan Balch, CEO. “They bring such passion and experience to these issues, along with a determination to ensure that other patients nationwide won’t have to experience the hardships that they and their own families have.”

Patient Congress is held annually by NPAF, bringing in patients from around the nation in support of patient-centric legislation. Topics are chosen from the data supplied by the Patient Advocate Foundation, NPAF’s partner organization, which provides no-cost case management services for patients experiencing a chronic, debilitating or life-threatening condition.