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State health agencies and the legislative policy process.
  • Published Date:
    1994 May-Jun
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 109(3):361-367
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.51 MB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    8190858
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMCnull
  • Description:
    A new era of health care reform places increasing pressure on public health leaders and agencies to participate in the public policy arena. Public health professionals have long been comfortable in providing the scientific knowledge base required in policy development. What has been more recent in its evolution, however, is recognition that they must also play an active role in leading and shaping the debate over policy. A profile of effective State legislative policy "entrepreneurs" and their strategies has been developed to assist health agencies in developing such a leadership position. Based on the experiences of State legislative liaison officers, specific strategies for dealing with State legislatures have been identified and are organized into five key areas--agency organization, staff skills, communications, negotiation, and active ongoing involvement. A public health agency must be organized effectively to participate in the legislative policy process. Typically, effective agencies centralize responsibility for policy activities and promote broad and coordinated participation throughout the organization. Playing a key role in the agency's political interventions, the legislative liaison office should be staffed with persons possessing excellent interpersonal skills and a high degree of technical competence. Of central importance to effective legislative policy entrepreneurship is the ability to communicate the agency's position clearly. This includes setting forward a focused policy agenda, documenting policy issues in a meaningful manner, and reaching legislators with the proper information. Once a matter is on the legislative agenda, the agency must be prepared to negotiate and build broad support for the measure. Finally, public health agencies must be active policy players. To take advantage of new opportunities for action, the public health (policy) leader must monitor the political environment continually.By working to anticipate and formulate legislation,health officials can form meaningful relationships with legislators and the community, which are the cornerstones of political strength.

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