Jo Ann Lawer
As Lancaster General Health’s Director of Government Affairs & Grants, Jo Ann Lawer ensures that issues of importance to the Medical & Dental Staff stay front and center with local legislators.
“I’m invested in getting to know our legislators and making sure they know about LG Health and our latest priorities,” she said. “I keep them informed about what’s happening in our health system, good or bad, before they read about it in the paper.”
Lawer meets individually with legislators to keep them up-to-date on LG Health’s priorities, which currently include the proposed behavioral health hospital and direct-to-employer health insurance plan. She also connects legislators with physician experts for education and lobbying support.
“When our legislators hear directly from our physicians and executive leaders, that makes the difference,” she said. “They’re the expertise; I’m the facilitator.”
Lawer has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Susquehanna University and a law degree from Widener University. Before joining LG Health, she served as President and Executive Director of Philadelphia Safe and Sound, a Robert Wood Johnson urban health development program that works to reduce violence and dropout rates, and improve youth outcomes.
She also served as DHS Deputy Secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and Families. And she established the Center for Schools and Communities, which provides program development, training and evaluation services for state agencies.
At LG Health, Lawer especially appreciates the work of the LGHP Advocacy Council, which she co-chairs with Paul Conslato, M.D. Council members include Drs. T. Raymond Foley, James Kelly, Rebecca Shepherd and Kristy Whitman, and Beth Sigmund, CRNP.
Recent priorities include supporting the physician credentialing bill. With physicians’ help, Lawer created an easy-to-understand one-pager outlining LG Health’s position on the bill.
“We don’t wait until the bill is moving and ready for a final vote,” she said. “We get in there early, and we use our expertise to give our legislators solid information. They know when we contact them that it’s about something substantive, and they always listen.”
Lawer encourages physicians to write or call their legislators in support of the credentialing bill or any legislation that’s important to them. Physicians may contact her with legislative concerns at any time.
“What really makes a difference is when we have physicians who are willing to get involved,” she said. “What I do wouldn’t mean anything without their engagement and their help.”