By Donna Martin, Director of State Partnerships & Special Projects, ANCOR
“State Association” has long been a membership category within ANCOR. State associations serve a similar purpose as ANCOR, but with a primary focus on state-level advocacy for their members. Over the years, the number of state association members has grown and ANCOR now proudly serves 54 associations across 44 states!
The state association executives (or SAEs, as they are known) are a dynamic group of association professionals that work to inform their members of ANCOR’s federal advocacy activity in Congress, in the Department of Health & Human Services, and in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The SAEs work to support one another, as many are the sole entity of their kind in a particular state. They share policy and legislative wins and frustrations, member support and board development techniques, and staff management resources. They also work tirelessly to support their members to navigate state-level policy and politics, legislative agendas, and workforce issues.
During this pandemic, we have seen tremendous dedication from these state association leaders. They have led the way on activities such as ensuring that their members were included in states’ listings of providers eligible for CARES Act-authorized Provider Relief Fund support and hand delivering personal protective equipment to providers in need. They have also been essential in advocating for emergency flexibilities in the Medicaid program, such as efforts to secure retainer payments and navigate the Provider Relief Fund portal. While they may not be on the “frontlines” of service delivery, they play a crucial role in ensuring that their members have what they need to get the job done.
SAEs are also a major resource for ANCOR as we develop and implement our policy agenda. We develop our agenda in concert with the state associations that inform ANCOR about what is happening at the state level and where our attention is needed. SAEs also elevate state-level issues to the national conversation when there is concern of broad policy implications. The SAEs are frequently a key link between ANCOR and its provider members, and SAEs support ANCOR’s mission by engaging their members in federal advocacy and policy initiatives. During the COVID-19 crisis, state associations have helped drive our advocacy and outreach like never before. Since March, 41,946 advocates (!!) have sent 174,700 messages to 493 congressional offices through 22 action alerts. Never have so many committed advocates taken action, and the SAEs are a major driving force behind the success we’ve seen throughout 2020.
But that’s not all: ANCOR’s state association members also worked to support the collection of data about the economic impact of the pandemic on providers. This enabled ANCOR to generate two reports (including one that highlighted findings from a survey that included 700 respondents!) that have garnered substantial attention from media, legislators, and people in the administration on the plight of I/DD providers and the people they serve during this time of crisis.
ANCOR greatly appreciates the work of our state associations and looks forward continuing our long and productive partnership, throughout the pandemic and beyond!
Donna Martin is the Director of State Partnerships & Special Projects at ANCOR. She can be reached at [email protected].