Visiting Capitol Hill

One of the most intimidating experiences in my life was the first time I walked into a U.S. senator’s office to lobby for my specialty: radiology. I had attended the ACR Annual Meeting and Chapter Leadership Conference (AMCLC) meeting in Washington, DC, for the first time and spent the past several days at the conference listening to lectures about the latest concerning legislation, which at that time was the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA). Fueled with all the knowledge I had acquired and armed with the talking points given to me by the ACR’s Government Relations Department at the meeting, I joined my fellow state representatives at the conference and walked into our state senator’s office.

I was a little nervous at first. I wanted to make sure that our concerns were well represented, and that I said everything in a way that the representative not only understood the issues, but more importantly, would know how critical our concerns are to not only radiologists but to the patients who we care for.

We sat at an oval-shaped table and were greeted by the senator’s legislative assistant. Each member of my group took turns discussing with the assistant the impact that reimbursement cuts would have — not only on the practice of medicine but on a patient’s ability to access imaging. I felt for those 10 minutes or so while we discussed our concerns that I was helping to make positive changes and was taking a proactive role in molding the future of radiology.

Almost 10 years later, and 10 AMCLC meetings later, at each Capitol Hill visit that I have done I continue to feel like I am a contributor to safeguarding my specialty and making a difference. I highly recommend that every radiologist attend AMCLC and make your voice heard. Strength comes in numbers and when we come together changes can happen.

Jennifer Nathan, MD, is a neuroradiologist at Fort Belvoir in Washington, DC.

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