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Hill Day: All You Need to Know and FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
The National Council’s 9th Annual Hill Day, in partnership with ABHW, DBSA, MHA, NAMI, and USPRA will take place on September 16-17, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. Are you a first time Hill Day attendee? Have you been to Hill Day in the past, but need a refresher on what to expect? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Hill Day.
Basic Information and Events
What is Hill Day?
Each year at the National Council’s Hill Day, hundreds of behavioral health providers, administrators, board members, consumers, and community stakeholders come to D.C. for a day of sessions and workshops on federal behavioral health policy, followed by visits with their elected officials on Capitol Hill to advocate for our field's priorities.
What are the typical Hill Day events and activities?
At the Public Policy Institute on September 16th, you will have the opportunity to hear from key congressional and administration staff and policy experts, who will provide an update on important federal policy initiatives. You’ll also be able to participate in breakout sessions on advocacy techniques, federal grant funding, and social media marketing. On September 17th, you will meet with your elected officials on Capitol Hill. We will hold a reception each night: one on Capitol Hill to honor our Legislators of the Year; and the other at the Hyatt Regency to recognize our members’ achievements and advocacy efforts. Visit the Hill Day website for a tentative schedule.
Which staff at my organization should attend Hill Day?
All staff are welcome. What happens with federal policy can affect all levels of staff at an organization – so we encourage you to send as many of your staff as are able to come! Past attendees have included CEOs, senior management, consumers, program directors, physicians, other providers, board members, and more.
Do I have to attend the Public Policy Institute on September 16th to participate in Hill Day on September 17th?
We strongly encourage you to attend the Public Policy Institute. The presentations and breakout sessions are designed to prepare you for your Hill visits, give you important background information on our policy asks, and give you the opportunity to meet and network with other attendees from your state. In the words of one attendee from 2010, “the Public Policy Institute was invaluable.”
When will the National Council announce our main policy “asks” for Hill Day?
We try to ensure that the policy asks and fact sheets we give you are timely and in line with current activity on the Hill. As a result, we typically do not announce our target issues until about a month before the event.
Scheduling Hill Visits
Does the National Council schedule Capitol Hill meetings for me?
No. Attendees are responsible for setting up their own meetings and coordinating with other attendees from their states.
How do I go about setting up my meetings?
First, contact your states captain to let them know you will be attending and find out whether they are coordinating your state delegation’s Hill visits. The National Council has put together a guide to help you reach out to your legislators and schedule meetings.
Who should I schedule meetings with?
We recommend that you set up meetings with both your Senators and your Representative. If your Governor’s office has a branch in Washington, we encourage you to meet with them as well.
Do I need to enter my meetings in my registration profile?
Yes. This is important so that the National Council staff can provide logistical support and help with follow-up where needed. Even if your state association is doing the legwork of setting up the meetings, please enter the meetings in your own registration profile once they are confirmed.
Do I need to register?
Yes. Even though registration is free, we still need attendees to register in advance so we can get accurate counts for meals and have name badges for everyone. Click here to register for Hill Day 2013.
Can one person register everyone who is attending from their organization?
Yes. After registering one attendee for your organization, simply click “Add Attendee” from your organization’s main profile page to add additional attendees.
I’m not sure if I have registered yet – how can I check?
No problem – just go to the log-in page and enter your email address. If you have already registered, you will be automatically directed to your organization’s main profile page. If you haven’t yet registered, you will be asked to select your organization and enter your contact information.
I can’t find my agency in the drop-down menu that lists all the organizations.
There could be two reasons for this. First, check to see if your organization is entered under a different spelling or using your abbreviation instead of the full name (e.g. “The Rhode Island CFSA” vs. “RI Child & Family Service Agency”). If you still can’t find your organization, it means that you are the first person from your agency to register for Hill Day. Check the box next to “My organization is not listed” and continue to the next page to enter your organization’s address and services provided.
Why are registrations grouped by organization?
Unlike some of our other major events during the year, Hill Day requires a certain amount of coordination among state delegations. We group your registrations by agency so that you can see who else is coming from your organization and reach out to them as needed. We also encourage you to let your state captain know that you’ll be attending Hill Day, as they may want to do some additional coordination or preparation with you.
How do I log into my registration profile to enter meetings or correct a mistake in my contact information?
Simply log back in to the online registration tool using your email address. From your organization’s main registration profile page, you can add or edit attendees and add or edit meetings.
I need to cancel my registration for Hill Day. How can I do that?
If you are simply canceling one attendee from an organization, log in to online registration using your email address and select “Delete Attendee” next to the appropriate person’s name. If you need to cancel all participants from an organization, please contact Kirsten Reed at KirstenR@thenationalcouncil.org.
Cost and Logistics
What dates should I arrive and depart? What airport should I use?
Because the Policy Institute events start first thing on the morning of Monday, September 16, we recommend that you fly into DC on Sunday, September 15. The official Hill Day events will end after our reception on the evening of September 17; some attendees will leave late on the 17th and others will depart on September 18th. Washington National Airport is closest to the hotel, but some people may find better fares flying into Washington Dulles Airport or Baltimore International Airport. All airports in the area are accessible by public transit to the hotel.
How much does it cost to attend Hill Day?
Registration is free. The National Council will provide breakfast and lunch on September 16th and breakfast on September 17th. The Hyatt Regency is within walking distance of the congressional office buildings, so you will not need to take public transit for your Hill meetings. You will be responsible for your hotel costs, transportation, and other meals while you are here. Mention the National Council’s room block when you book your hotel room to get our specially discounted rate of $279/night.
Advice from Hill Day Veterans
What should I do to prepare for Hill Day?
You should be prepared to provide basic information about your organization: number of consumers served and any information about their general diagnostic mix, number of staff, the type of payers that constitute most of your reimbursement, and any other information that might be helpful in giving your legislators an idea of what your agency does. It is a good idea to be able to speak to the major budget/funding challenges you are facing in your state. We also recommend that you join us for a preparatory webinar in mid-late August, which will cover our main policy asks and give you additional advice to prepare for Hill Day.
This is my first time attending Hill Day. Do you have any tips for me?
Yes, we do! Here are some tips and tricks from the National Council staff:
- Bring plenty of business cards to hand out at your meetings on the Hill
- Wear layers, because it will be very hot outside and very air conditioned inside
- Find out in advance who’s coming from your state and coordinate your visits, handouts, and any other materials with them
- Wear comfortable shoes so you don’t wear out your feet walking between visits
- Bring a water bottle and even some small snacks, since it can be a long day
- Bring a camera with you on your visits so you can take pictures with your legislators
- Bring $1 bills for taxi tips and metro fare
- Eat dinner at Zaytinya, one of the best restaurants in town
- If you need special assistance or accommodations, please let us know in advance so we can be as helpful as possible
- Visit our onsite Help Desk to get restaurant recommendations from National Council staff – along with directions to Capitol Hill, bill information, phone numbers for Congressional offices, answers to your questions about using the metro, or any other information about D.C
- Take some time before or after Hill Day to see what D.C. has to offer
Still have questions about Hill Day? Please contact Kirsten Reed, Policy Associate, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, at KirstenR@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457, ext. 234.