Bringing Patient Voices to Washington, DC
What is Patient Congress?
Patient Congress is an annual event that brings together patients, caregivers and health professionals from throughout the United States to network, learn and educate Congress about what matters most to them. Four components comprise the three-day event:
Participants join Patient Congress with a variety of personal, professional and advocacy experience. Each session is structured to be accessible enough to someone completely new to advocacy or health policy, while also challenging our participants who have worked with us for over a decade.
In order to ensure that participants have a well-rounded experience, panels include a mix of policy, communications and practical advocacy advice, with an emphasis on interactive sessions that directly engage the audience.
Past panels include:
- Your Story and Effective Advocacy
- Taking it Home: The Power of Grassroots
- How the ACA passed – A Guide to How a Bill Really Becomes a Law
- How to have a Hill meeting
- Palliative Care and the Triple Aim
- Utilization Review and You
Each participant receives a specially-prepared booklet, filled with NPAF-created fact sheets and reports, along with a curated selection of deep reads on pertinent topics.
Participants engage in formal and informal networking sessions, designed to place them with people who are either close to them by interest or by mileage. Throughout the event, NPAF builds in social time for casual mingling, along with more formal sessions designed to encourage people to make formal plans for local engagement.
Past participants have left Patient Congress with a formal plan for state engagement for the year, including specific topics, a legislative plan and contact information for those others who are ready to engage in their home states.
We believe that the most important thing a person can bring to advocacy is their own lived experience and the power of their voice.
For the Story Slam, patients share their stories on stage on Capitol Hill, in front of elected officials, staffers and media. Because the Story Slam is open to the public, participants have been asked for interviews or private meetings with elected officials from the power of their performance.
Each participant works on their story for the weeks leading up to the event and is both partnered with a fellow participant and given an NPAF staff mentor.
What is a DC trip without a visit to one’s elected officials? Each year, Patient Congress participants hold meetings with their Representative and Senators, on topics that promote access to affordable, quality, patient-centered care.
Past topics include medical debt, specialty tiers and palliative care.
Who can come to Patient Congress?
Participants are chosen through an open application process. Interested in attending? Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll know the minute the applications are available.
I’m not sure I can afford it – are scholarships available?
Each year we offer full scholarships to participants. The scholarships include travel, food and lodging.
Is each component mandatory?
We hope for full participation, but participants who want to opt out of certain components can contact us privately. We hope to make Patient Congress a wonderful experience for each participant, and will accommodate you with that goal in mind.