This post is contributed by Amy Patel, MD, chief resident at the University of Kansas-Wichita and Resident RADPAC Board Member.
I always look forward to the annual Capitol Hill Day. What makes the day particularly special for me is the stalwart relationships we have built with our own Kansas senators and representatives. It is a gratifying feeling when you know each other on a first name basis and know that the support is mutual in achieving radiology’s advocacy goals.
Fostering these types of relationships can go incredibly far in passing legislation favorable to the specialty.
Another incredible milestone during this year’s Capitol Hill Day was the exemplary attendance by the Resident and Fellow Section. Of the over 500 attendees, nearly 40 percent were members-in-training. To me, this proves that the leaders of tomorrow understand the importance of radiology advocacy, they truly care about the future of our profession, and they want to play an active role in its continued success.
Although the American College of Radiology has arguably one of the strongest governmental relations teams advocating for us on the Hill, it is imperative that we as radiologists also make ourselves visible in Washington to provide compelling facts and data. Moreover, a story which hits close to the home of a federal elected officer and how it’s affecting his/her constituents can be all it takes for one of them to show support.
Our efforts in Washington really do translate to results. To put it in perspective, 8,000 bills were introduced in Congress in 2015 and 90 percent did not get a vote. However, we were able to enact legislation that lowered the Professional Component Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR), placed a two-year moratorium on the flawed United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) mammography screening recommendations, and repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), three crucial victories in our field.
We most definitely need radiologists tirelessly reading at the workstation; they are invaluable assets to our profession. However, it is equally paramount for radiologists to solidify their stance in Washington, advocating on the front lines as we move forward in our battle for fair reimbursement and affordable/accessible care for our patients. This will collectively ensure our specialty will survive and thrive in the years to come.
I invite you to use the comments section below to share your favorite things about Capitol Hill Day and why you think participation in the advocacy process is important.