Grassroots Advocacy in Action

Unfortunately, millions of people across the U.S. are impacted by cardiovascular disease each year – either directly or indirectly. As the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the world, it’s crucial that congressional and state leaders understand the consequences of cardiovascular disease; advances in research, treatment and prevention; and how the cardiovascular community is working to improve the quality of and access to care. As the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is implemented, it’s also important for cardiovascular professionals to meet with lawmakers to educate them about the realities of navigating an increasingly complex health care system.

The ACC offers a number of ways for its members to get involved in advocating for health policies that ensure continued patient access to quality, cost-effective care. Grassroots advocacy opportunities include sending an email to members of Congress; hosting lawmakers for a practice or hospital visit; or coming to Washington, DC, as part of the College’s annual Legislative Conference. Taking part in grassroots efforts at the national, state and local level ensures the voice of cardiology is heard.

This spring, ACC Immediate Past President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, and colleagues hosted Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) at Rush University Medical Center for a “Legislator Day in Cardiology” event. This was an opportunity for cardiology leaders to share how Rush University Medical Center is advancing cardiovascular care through its Rush Heart Center for Women, community screenings and other programs. During mini-presentations on topics ranging from lifestyle and prevention to cardio-oncology and stem cell research, cardiology faculty helped Davis grasp the current cardiovascular landscape and challenges health care professionals are faced with. “To succeed, we must address our care processes and carefully consider what we measure and incent,” Williams stressed.

Earlier this year, Michelle Hadley, DO, met with Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) at his office in Worcester, MA. After outlining the ACC’s major advocacy objectives, Hadley and McGovern discussed funding for the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, electronic health record usability and cardiac rehabilitation. They also agreed on the importance of Congress working with medical specialty societies and federal agencies as MACRA is implemented. “Meeting with McGovern has allowed me to take my first independent steps in defining my career as an active member of the ACC,” said Hadley on the ACC in Touch Blog. “Attending ACC’s Legislative Conference helped me to carry on my conversation with a sense of ease and confidence, which will allow me to continue growing my relationship with the congressman.”

Cardiology ACC Immediate Past President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, MACC, (4th from right) and colleagues hosted Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) (4th from left) at Rush University Medical Center

If you’re interested in scheduling a practice visit with a federal legislator, contact Elizabeth Shaw at For practice visits with state legislators, contact Kelly Memphis at

Keywords: Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications

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