ATRA is committed to securing adequate government aid, promoting inclusive programs, and increasing public awareness of issues in therapeutic recreation. The association routinely engages in several courses of action to meet these goals. ATRA continues to maintain a lobbyist in D.C. to look after member interests, and Tim Passmore, Ed.D, CTRS, serves as ATRA's volunteer coverage and reimbursement expert.
At the 2012 Mid-Year Forum on Public Policy, Congressman G.T. Thompson invited therapists to contact the Center for Medicare and Medicaid asking for clarification that recreational therapy is a covered service. A sample letter is included. Congressman Thompson also recognized recreational therapy before Congress in a proclamation entered into the official record.
Members interested in forming state coalitions can contact the ATRA administrative office for a complimentary copy of State Recognition Options in Therapeutic Recreation: And Educational Resource. Here is an excerpt:
3.1 The Advocacy Process
Any one of the following steps requires a concerted and organized effort to advocate for quality therapeutic recreation services. In each of the steps identified in this chapter, the general advocacy process remains the same: organization, development of the message, consistent delivery of the message, follow-up and continuous monitoring.
1. Raise the issues.
2. Organize a group.
3. Begin the monitoring legislation and action.
4. Identify and develop relationships with agency staff and officials responsible for policy development.
5. Develop, borrow, or modify advocacy materials.
6. Develop position statements and a consistent messsage.
7. Disseminate position statements.
8. Involve consumers, families, and other professionals who support your position - meet with them or request that they provide oral and written testimony.
9. Follow up oral and written testimony with letters fo appreciation and acknowledgement.
10. Continue to monitor the issues.
11. Continue to follow-up with contacts, state legislators and other key people.
12. Repeat the process!