ACC Legislative Conference 2016: Advocacy Action on Capitol Hill

After a day of educational sessions covering topics ranging from the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) to best practices for state advocacy programs and the political landscape to legislative issues on the horizon, Legislative Conference attendees were armed with the information needed to take cardiology’s message to legislators. On Sept. 13, almost 450 cardiovascular professionals spent the day on Capitol Hill advocating for health care policies that support health care providers and practices and provide patients with access to high quality care.

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Before meeting with legislators in their offices, ACC members gathered in the Cannon House Office Building for a special Congressional Breakfast during which Reps. Joe Heck, DO, (R-NV), Phil Roe, MD, (R-TN), Gene Green (D-TX), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) gave remarks on the health care landscape and the importance of active participation in advocacy efforts. During the breakfast, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, were honored with ACC's 2016 President's Awards for Distinguished Public Service.

While on Capitol Hill, more than 300 meetings took place between ACC members and their legislators. In addition to asking members of Congress to exercise careful oversight of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) implementation, ACC members urged Congress to cosponsor H.R. 3355/S. 488, a bill that would expand access to cardiac rehabilitation by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to supervise cardiac, intensive cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs; and support increased funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to foster innovation and research.

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As attendees learned during Legislative Conference, meeting with lawmakers once a year isn't enough. Attendees must carry the momentum from this week back to their home states and engage their colleagues in advocacy efforts. Hosting legislator practice visits is one way to build relationships and educate lawmakers about how their decisions impact cardiology. Contact Elizabeth Shaw at eshaw@acc.org (Federal) or Kelly Memphis at kmemphis@acc.org (State), to set up a visit. Also, send a letter to your members of Congress through ACC's grassroots system to combine your voice with those of your colleagues to deliver cardiology's message to Congress.

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Get full coverage of the conference on ACC.org and check out highlights on Twitter by following @Cardiology and #ACCLegConf. Head over to ACC's Facebook page for a video interview on MACRA with C. Michael Valentine, MD, FACC, vice president of the ACC, and Pascha Schafer, MD, FACC, an ACC Emerging Advocate, and check out full video coverage of the break-out session on 'Interacting With Congress Through Social Media' via ACC Advocacy's Twitter channel. For the Fellow in Training perspective, visit the FITs on the GO Video Blog, which includes interviews with Jean Moody-Williams, RN, MPP, deputy director of the Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, political analyst Nathan Gonzales, ACC President-Elect Mary Norine Walsh, MD, FACC, and more.

Keywords: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.), Health Policy, Medicaid, Medicare, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), Nurse Clinicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, United States Food and Drug Administration


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