CV Team Perspectives | ACC’s 2017 Legislative Conference

Cardiovascular Team members had a strong presence at the ACC's recent 2017 Legislative Conference that took place Sept. 10 – 12 in Washington, DC. Several Cardiovascular Team members shared their personal thoughts and takeaways from this important educational and immersive event.

Heather M. Ross, PhD, DNP:

This was my fourth or fifth time advocating on the Hill with the ACC. I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces, and felt that our team from Arizona did a strong job communicating our talking points to congressional staff. Often, our Arizona Chapter delegation feels frustrated that our advocacy efforts will not yield co-sponsorships or favorable votes on the issues that are important to us and our patients. This year felt a little different, though. Since I am running for Congress myself, the usual frustrations felt more like an opportunity to win my election in 2018 so that I can sponsor smart, bipartisan legislation and cast votes that will help our patients, our profession and our country.

Mary Schoenbaum, RN, ACNP, AACC:

I have never been more proud to be part of the ACC. It was my first experience at the Legislative Conference, and it was an honor and a privilege to be involved. I can't wait until next year.

Sandra Oliver-McNeil DNP, ACNP-BC, CHFN, AACC:

I have been to the Legislative Conference several times, but for some reason, this conference seemed to have so much more energy on the part of the legislators we meet with. I had more face-to-face meetings with Representatives and Senators than ever before. It was their first day back from break, which I think made a difference. Maybe it was because of the "theme" of health care visits from multiple groups that day and the ACA [Affordable Care Act] being heavily discussed. I got great insight from my members of Congress and had the opportunity to share my thoughts, even though I do not agree with their political views and stance on issues. It was an engaging experience.

Linda L. Hart, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, AACC:

The Legislative Conference was once again a dynamic interaction of health policy, providers, patient access and stimulating networking representing practices across the U.S. The preconference really broke down the issues relating to team-based care in terms of payment models, APC [Advanced Primary Care] utilization models and how to add APCs to the Dyad. Nicholle Wallace, past press secretary for President George W. Bush, captured the audience at the PAC dinner with an open Q&A session. Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spoke on his work with the Genome project, and the importance of research. I was thrilled to meet my senator, Tim Kaine, on the street for an impromptu visit.

Emily S. Liebeskind, ARNP:

Thank you to the ACC Washington Chapter for the opportunity to attend the Legislative Conference in Washington, DC! As a first-time attendee, it was empowering to take issues we face in everyday clinical practice to our congress members on Capitol Hill and advocate for change. We had the opportunity to engage directly with Reps Derek Kilmer, Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal about increasing NIH funding, expanding access to cardiac rehab and easing administrative burdens on clinicians. As a testament to the importance of establishing these relationships, Rep. Jayapal cosponsored H.R. 1155 in support of expanding access to cardiac rehab only days after we met. Beyond meeting members of Congress, I had the privilege to meet other ACC members from across the country. It was inspiring to witness so many physicians and cardiovascular team members advocate together for important legislation. I am honored to have attended this conference and am excited to see what we can achieve together in the future.

Kim St. Clair Seals, ARNP-BC, AACC, Advocacy Advisory Council Member:

This year was different than the last three years that I have attended Legislative Conference for several reasons:

  1. I am not intimidated by Capitol Hill.
  2. I was one of three from Florida (we usually have at least 15 people attending, but because of Hurricane Irma, only three of us were able to come). Therefore, I went to all 11 offices that were assigned rather than just four or five.
  3. I was "delegated" to manage all of the Florida appointments; therefore, I was in charge of providing all feedback from the meetings to the Advocacy Team at Heart House.
  4. I wrote thank you letters to all of the staff members we met with on the Hill. This was the first time that I was delegated to do this.
  5. The dinner was interesting. Usually the speaker gives a nice lecture with stories and experiences. This year, it was like she was the press secretary and we were the press with a question and answer session.
  6. The CV Team pre-conference session was excellent. I also attended the lecture with the Emerging Advocates – it was great! In fact, I was so impressed with the presentations that I have applied for the next Emerging Advocate Program.

Terry Clemons, PA:

This was my third year attending the ACC Legislative Conference. I continue to be impressed with the passion, professionalism and energy of ACC members and members of my legislature. There is always a high level of energy as all involved continue to pursue excellence in the field of cardiology. It is uplifting to listen to members and legislators being passionate about the jobs that they continue to do. Following are some of my thoughts about the conference:

  • Sunday's administrative pre-session was very informative and presented some excellent new information relating to my role as an Advanced Practice Provider. It was very instructive on how PAs [physician assistants] can be utilized and how we can become more effective advocates for our profession.
  • Sunday night was spent attending a dinner with Nicolle Wallace. It was fascinating to hear her stories about behind-the-scenes events surrounding the recent presidential election. The question and answer segment was particularly uplifting.
  • Monday's session was spent listening to various health care professionals discussing their challenges and solutions to current issues confronting health care. It was very interesting to hear different perspectives from a diverse group of colleagues.
  • Monday night was highlighted by the Alabama Chapter dinner. It is always great to meet with our legislative representatives and fellows from Alabama and get their perspectives on various pressing issues in our great state. Not to mention, the food has always been sensational and is always an enjoyable experience.
  • My favorite day is always the trip to the Hill. Over the years I have made so many lifelong memories and am always in awe of the pure spectacle of being in a location of such importance to so many.

In closing, I would simply say thank you for this opportunity to further my knowledge in the field for the past thirty years. I am now armed with excellent talking points and stand ready to collaborate with many diverse disciplines.