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Spiritual Care Advocacy, Collaboration and Volunteering Progress Report

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First-of-Its-Kind Advocacy Initiative in Washington, DC

The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) has retained Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a leading international law firm, to spearhead advocacy efforts aimed at raising the bar on spiritual care and further integrating it into the U.S. health care system.

Leading the effort will be M. Todd Tuten, a senior policy advisor in the firm's Washington, DC office who has extensive congressional and private-sector experience, including the development and implementation of substantive policies and strategies on a broad range of legislative and regulatory matters, with a particular focus on health care. He is actively engaged in the debate on proposals to strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and the nation's health care system.

SCA is fortunate to have secured such a well-respected firm. This paves the way for the first time for spiritual care stakeholders to build a united and loud voice on Capitol Hill around this important aspect of whole-person care. We must amplify spiritual care issues in the public interest in order to move the profession forward and, moreover, to assist countless people in need.

SCA plans to educate and engage federal legislators and policymakers with the intent of securing laws, policies, reimbursements and resources that support quality spiritual care for individuals and their family caregivers throughout the continuum of care and in all types of health care settings. We welcome your participation in this important effort. If you wish to be involved, please send a message to info@spiritualcareassociation.org with the word "Advocacy" in the subject line and your contact information.

Read the full announcement about this initiative here.

Unprecedented Collaboration Within the Chaplaincy Profession Is Well Underway 

When I announced the formation of the Spiritual Care Association in April, I stated that SCA was committed to inviting collaboration with the many chaplaincy organizations to advance the profession. Our invitations to collaborate have been received with enthusiasm. Over these past two and a half months, on behalf of SCA, I have had highly constructive conversations with many of the chaplaincy certification or accreditation organizations - 11 total so far ─  to discuss if and how the SCA's educational, certification, and advocacy resources could be of value to their members. The overall answers have consistently been "yes" and the discussions of "how" are ongoing. Also, last week we held a group conference call with many of these associations about collaborating in a unified way to benefit the chaplaincy field. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this many chaplaincy associations have participated in such a collective meeting. We continue to invite others to join the conversation.

Since effective spiritual care should involve participation, in some way, of all members of the interdisciplinary health care team, SCA was founded as a multidisciplinary organization to include not only chaplains, but also nurses, social workers, physicians, and others, plus non-chaplain clergy. I can report that we already have up and running advisory committees consisting of nurses and social workers, respectively, and we are forming a physicians' committee. We are also working with a number of major seminaries across the U.S. to serve their constituents.
 
Many SCA Members Have Volunteered to Serve on Committees

After inviting SCA members two weeks ago to serve on one or more committees in formation, more than 70 members have said they wish to do so. The committees include:
  • Advocacy
  • Clinical Chaplaincy
  • Certification & Credentialing
  • Education
  • Hospice & Palliative Care Chaplaincy
  • Pediatric Chaplaincy
  • Research
Agendas for each committee are being developed with activity to heat up in September. If you are an SCA member and are interested in serving on a committee, please send an email message with the word "Committee" in the subject line to info@spiritualcareassociation.org and include your contact information and what committee(s) are of interest. A reply to you with more information will be forthcoming.

A Personal Note

My SCA colleagues and I are very grateful for all the enthusiastic support that we have received from the spiritual care community in the U.S. and other countries, and the rapid growth of membership. Consistent with our commitment to open dialogue, please feel free to contact me via info@spiritualcareassociation.org if you have any questions, want to know more about SCA or wish to have a conversation.
Peace & Blessings!

Rev. Eric J. Hall
President & CEO
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and
Spiritual Care Associati
on
 
 
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