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31,000+ Healthcare Bills in the US Alone: How to Track, Engage, & Report Now

by Lydia Stowe, FiscalNote

Best practices for government affairs professionals in healthcare to stay on top of issues, engage stakeholders, and report on wins at the local, state, federal, and global levels.

How to track healthcare legislation

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More than 31,000 healthcare-related bills have been introduced so far in 2022 at the U.S. federal and state level, according to FiscalNote data. At the local level, FiscalNote’s local monitoring service, Curate, has recorded over 5,000 new documents across 1,681 localities in the U.S. mentioning public health topics in the same time period.

Tracking healthcare policy is always a massive feat, but with all eyes on issues like reproductive health laws, COVID-19 aid, the opioid crisis, and healthcare workforce issues, making sure you don’t miss a thing is more important — and challenging — than ever.

Because healthcare is such a broad topic, it can be difficult to cut through the noise and get lawmakers to focus on your specific issue as it competes with a wide variety of other health issues. In addition, the volume of legislation to track — which often moves quickly and changes abruptly — at the local, state, federal, and even global levels is a massive challenge for healthcare government affairs professionals.

With these challenges unique to the healthcare industry, here are some best practices for government affairs professionals in healthcare to stay on top of issues, engage stakeholders, and report on wins.

The Technology You Need to Manage all Your Healthcare Policy Issues

How you can manage healthcare policy developments as they erupt, engage with key stakeholders, and tackle the top healthcare issues on your agenda.

Track Healthcare Laws Like a Hawk

Fear of missing relevant legislation or regulation causes anxiety for 45 percent of government affairs employees in healthcare, according to FiscalNote’s State of Government Affairs 2022 Industry Report. A quarter of these professionals say they’re following more than 20 policy issues at a given time, and 77 percent say they’re following more issues than last year.

Since healthcare is such a wide issue, it’s important to focus on finding the right terms to track and to filter out unnecessary information. Narrow down the terms you need to follow that most impact the work you do, suggests Monte Ward, vice president of government relations at American College of Sports Medicine.

A legislative tracker can do some of this legwork and provide assurance that your team isn’t missing important new healthcare laws or regulations. That’s why 82 percent of healthcare government affairs professionals surveyed said they rely on a legislative tracker to do their jobs. “We use FiscalNote to track legislation, and it’s very helpful to put the bills that we want to track at the forefront,” Ward says.

Stay Ahead of Global Policy and Market Trends in Healthcare

Increasingly, following healthcare policy requires an understanding of geopolitical and global market intelligence, which can impact your organization and its position on certain issues. Understanding emerging global trends and consequential policy developments to inform strategy is a challenge government affairs must navigate. Staying on top of all of these issues across multiple time zones and languages isn’t easy, especially as footprints grow and lines of hierarchy get more complicated.

To thrive in an increasingly complex world, you need to see the full picture by combining deep policy and political analysis with fact-based economic market intelligence. Specialized government affairs advisory services work as an extension of your team, bringing you custom insights into key markets that allow you to respond in real-time, which is critical in the healthcare policy and advocacy arena; demonstrating how your team’s work helped in removing barriers or influencing a particular outcome can be crucial.

Level Up with Your Stakeholders

One of the most important and challenging jobs of any government affairs professional is to effectively engage and communicate with stakeholders and then report on that work. These stakeholders might be legislators, association members, advocates, physicians, or like-minded organizations.

When communicating with members or advocates, segmenting your audience is vital to make sure your messages are targeted and reach the right people. For example, the American College of Sports Medicine’s membership is diverse, ranging from physicians to academics to personal trainers, Ward says. He tailors his messaging for each group to focus on how an issue impacts them specifically and show them how they can make a difference.

In healthcare, it’s often necessary to build these relationships with the medical community in addition to members and legislators. These health professionals can speak with authority on issues that matter to your organization.

Medical professionals are often “information hungry” and want “information rooted in evidence-based practices,” says Francesca O’Reilly, vice president of advocacy at the National PACE Association.

“Medical professionals are used to combing the literature, being well-informed, and going out and doing their own research,” O’Reilly said. So when you get the medical community involved with your organization, make sure to have plenty of evidence-based information so they can do further research if desired: link to the issue brief, use original sources, link to the rule, bill, or press release — “they want to read it for themselves,” O’Reilly says.

To further foster relationships with stakeholders, put your organization out there — go to association meetings, have a booth at conventions, and continuously share relevant policy information with a recurring e-newsletter to members. This will help establish rapport and credibility with medical professionals and will build trust. Creating personal relationships with like-minded organizations that have similar goals, or joining or building a coalition, are ways to coordinate efforts and keep each other informed on issues that are moving forward.

Find, track, and report on your policy issues in minutes

Staying on top of your greatest policy issues has never been more important. But with issues increasingly complicated, you need the latest and greatest strategies for saving time and maximizing resources.

Report & Show Your Value

Measuring and evaluating your efforts is the best way to understand what is working and what is not so you can adjust your strategy and optimize your campaigns. Building a report on your successes is also one of the most visible parts of your job to higher-ups and peers. An effective report helps show your department’s value and the ROI behind your team’s work.

In healthcare, the majority of government affairs professionals have to create reports for internal stakeholders on a weekly basis. This can be a time-consuming process unless you have a central repository for data analytics and templates that can easily show your results in a clear, compelling way.

When reporting to executive leadership, it’s crucial to make sure they understand what your team’s goals are. “Make sure everybody knows your concrete goals and how you’re working toward them,” Ward says. This allows executive leadership to see your progress in a defined way and lets you set KPIs that show your success.

Evaluating metrics is a constantly evolving process for William DeVoe, director of communications and advocacy at the Cerebral Palsy Association of NYS. “When we have a campaign underway, we’re constantly monitoring the activity, the conversion rate, etc., and we’re adjusting,” he says. “If a particular type of ask didn’t resonate, we try something else.”

Paying close attention to the numbers and performance of your campaigns can show when it’s time to alter your strategy or try something else entirely. Technology is key for DeVoe’s team. They use VoterVoice to accurately measure and report on their efforts. It helps them break down the numbers of new advocates versus old advocates which enables them to show value. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t claim success,” DeVoe says.

Retain Institutional Knowledge

Having smart practices in place for retaining institutional knowledge is vital in the healthcare industry. With issues, legislators, and employees constantly in flux, transparency makes it easy to keep the right procedures and tools in place. According to a FiscalNote survey, 24 percent of government affairs professionals in healthcare believe a lack of internal collaboration and knowledge sharing is one of their biggest challenges.

“Institutional knowledge is key, especially when it comes to state government affairs,” says Sandy Guenther, manager of state government affairs and advocacy engagement at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. With healthcare, issues are often very cyclical. Issues organizations dealt with a decade ago may resurface again. “Being able to know what occurred back in the day in these various states, tactics used, and what was said is very valuable,” Guenther says.

Having access to a single repository — keeping a record of all the moving pieces associated with their work — is needed to drive alignment and increase efficiencies across team members. From policy developments to activity metrics, teams need an easy and reliable place to get the information they need. “If there is a new person that joins the team, they can get that historical perspective from the platform,” says Melodie Shrader, vice president of state affairs at the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.

Developing online knowledge libraries, having a central hub to track key projects, creating training videos, and documenting processes when off-boarding employees are all strategies to retain institutional knowledge and save your organization time and money.

Build a Successful Healthcare Government Affairs Strategy

With a high volume of legislation and regulation at all levels of government, changes that affect the healthcare industry can prove difficult to monitor. FiscalNote’s solutions can provide policy information and custom analysis at the global, federal, state, and local levels when you need it, so you can craft and execute a successful government affairs strategy that keeps your team and wider organization in the know.

FiscalNote’s powerful suite of tools including CQ, FrontierView, and VoterVoice, allows you to create monthly reports, manage stakeholders and advocates, and provides advanced analytics to forecast a bill’s likelihood of passage and determine which issues need your attention.

“It’s wild to think about how you would monitor all this if you didn’t have FiscalNote’s tools,” says Rachel Fey, vice president of policy and strategic partnerships at Power to Decide. “They help us appear and behave like a bigger government affairs shop and be able to do more with less.”

Ready to see for yourself?

Learn how FiscalNote can help you stay one step ahead of tracking, responding to, and influencing the regulations that impact your organization most.

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