The halfway point of our Policy and Government Relations Internship program is an excellent time to take stock of our interns’ first month or so. In this Intern Introspective, Cami and Eric break down what an average day in the life looks like as an HFA intern.Â
9 am to 10 am – Cami
When I arrive at the office in the morning the first thing I do is check my emails and see if there is anything that needs to be done right away. If there is nothing new I proceed to check the Federal Register (the daily “journal” of the documents submitted to the government)Â , the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee website and the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee website. On these three websites I look for upcoming hearings that would have an impact on the bleeding disorders community. Taking note of these hearings and attending them is important so that HFA can be aware of everything that is going on. Once I have taken notes about the hearings and put them into email form, I start in on any projects I am working on. Lately I have been working on putting together a list of which states have laws against balance billing and which states have proposed legislation in order to get rid of balance billing. Balance billing is when an out of network doctor charges a patient for their services on top of what the patient is already paying This is important because balance billing can end up costing patients lots of money. If we know which states are proposing legislation, we can do what we can to help push that legislation forward.
10 am to 12 pm – Eric
Some days we have an opportunity to attend Committee hearings. On the 7th of this month, I attended a hearing to discuss a bill that would provide guidance and aid to an underserved population of very sick kids. The bill is called the ACE Kids Act, and it would fund and care for a small population of children with illnesses that consume their lives. Being in that meeting was an intersection of a lot of things that I am passionate about, and it was beautiful to see fifteen members of Congress having productive conversations and being genuinely interested in what the expert witnesses had to say on the subject. After attending a hearing, I’ll write a summary of the salient points for the bleeding disorders community. After the hearings, I get to walk back to the office through some of the most beautiful parts of the city.
1 pm to 2 pm – Cami
After lunch I work on other projects that I have or basic tasks that need to be finished. Sometimes that will be putting together folders for different meetings that take place in the office, other times that will be my own projects that I need to get done. Eric and I work together on projects that need two pairs of eyes. Eric and I have looked at email blasts that need to be sent out to member organizations or sometimes we split tasks up so that more focus can be put on each part. This is usually a very calm part of the day where we work on whatever needs to get done at that time.
2pm to 3 pm – Eric
The afternoon is usually an intense time spent on my computer. Sometimes I’ll write or revise drafts of stories and articles to be published to HFA’s website. I’ve been really lucky to be able to assemble some of the emails that probably have landed in an inbox near and dear to your phone. During this time block, I’ll also spend time tracking legislation related to transparency in health care costs. Transparency legislation is gaining a lot of traction in state governments and is meant to examine how the cost of expensive medicines comes to be by having the drug companies give a breakdown of their manufacturing processes that create life-saving drugs. This is directly relatable to our community, so it’s something to be continually monitored.
3 pm to 4 pm – Cami
By 3 pm I am making sure that I have gotten everything done that needs to be finished by the end of the day. If I have everything done, then I typically will work on anything anyone else needs taken care of. Lately we have been working on doing inventory at the end of the day. Inventory consists of going through all the materials we have-packets, handouts, resources, and all of the giveaways like pens and hand sanitizer-and counting them. We need to know how much we have of everything and have that documented so that when it comes time to use them or order more we know exactly what we have and need.
4 pm to close – Eric
Yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of inventory lately. The late afternoon is built mostly around planning for the next day and tying up loose ends. There is a lot of calendar tracking to make sure I’m on top of all of my projects, and many emails to send out. I’ll usually do a round knocking on doors and poking my head in to see if anybody needs a hand with a project. One of the great things about HFA is that everyone working in the office is incredibly open to not only allowing me to help and get experience, but to actively guide me through the work that they do.