In 1999, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) established the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (PAC). Since then, the interest and involvement of AAOS fellows in the PAC have steadily increased.
During the 2009–2010 election cycle, the Orthopaedic PAC has raised more than $3.3 million, and as of July 30, 2010, it has more than 4,500 contributors. This makes it the largest medical PAC in the United States—exceeding even the American Medical Association’s PAC.
The Orthopaedic PAC recently began discussions with its donors about the importance of harnessing the power of the orthopaedic community to affect the national political dialogue on health care. One such donor is Manny Konstantakos, MD, who challenged himself to garner 100 percent participation in the Orthopaedic PAC from his residency classmates.
AAOS Now recently spoke with Dr. Konstantakos about his involvement with the Orthopaedic PAC.
AAOS Now: How did you first hear about the Orthopaedic PAC?
Dr. Konstantakos: In addition to teaching the nuts and bolts of orthopaedic surgery, our program at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio) also emphasizes the importance of keeping orthopaedics strong and moving forward. Our attending surgeons are keen on discussing relevant issues pertaining to the future of health care, and I learned about the Orthopaedic PAC through those discussions.
AAOS Now: Why did you feel it was important to get involved in the Orthopaedic PAC?
Dr. Konstantakos: The recently passed healthcare reforms will have a significant, long-term impact on today’s orthopaedic residents who will be establishing their practices just as many of these provisions go into effect. During our discussions of current healthcare issues, it became clear that we must take the lead in supporting our field.
AAOS Now: What inspired you to get 100 percent participation in the Orthopaedic PAC from your resident class?
Dr. Konstantakos: Gaining 100 percent participation was actually quite easy—our residents are very proactive in donating to the Orthopaedic PAC. We want to continue providing excellent orthopaedic care for our patients in the future; participation in the Orthopaedic PAC is a big step toward that goal.
AAOS Now: Why should residents get involved?
Dr. Konstantakos: When you think about it, it’s really quite clear. If we as orthopaedic residents don’t support our field to provide our patients the utmost in health care, who will?
AAOS Now: What do you hope that your successes with this effort will inspire in other AAOS members?
Dr. Konstantakos: Whether you’re an AAOS fellow, resident member, orthopaedic scientist, nurse practitioner, or other orthopaedic-related provider, contributing to the Orthopaedic PAC is worth the effort. It is the only national political action committee in Washington, D.C., representing the interests of the orthopaedic community before Congress.
AAOS Now: What would you say to other AAOS residents to encourage their participation in the
Dr. Konstantakos: Residents should ask themselves what made them decide to go into orthopaedics in the first place. Hopefully, the answer is to provide excellent orthopaedic care for patients. Our patients should always come first. By donating to the Orthopaedic PAC, we’re taking the initiative to ensure that providing such care to our patients will continue.
Francesca Gage is the PAC and grassroots specialist in the AAOS office of government relations. For more information on the Orthopaedic PAC, visit www.aaos.org/pac or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org