On Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2012, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) office of government relations (OGR) hosted a reception for members of Congress, their staff, and healthcare stakeholders. The reception, following the August recess, was aimed at strengthening relationships and providing an opportunity to discuss impending issues such as the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, the budget sequester, and the orthopaedic surgeon’s role in healthcare reform.
More than 80 people—including 20 members of Congress—attended the event at the AAOS offices at 317 Massachusetts Ave., NE, just blocks away from the Hart Senate Office Building. AAOS Fellows and members of the Council on Advocacy Craig A. Butler, MD, MBA, Health Care Systems Committee chair, and Thomas B. Fleeter, MD, Medical Liability Committee chair, also attended.
“As a result of the OGR event, I was able to establish a personal relationship with several of our representatives and gain a better understanding of how to keep them informed about the legislative issues that affect orthopaedic surgeons,” said Dr. Fleeter. “I was impressed with the number of legislators that I met with and how they truly wanted to help the medical profession. They have a high opinion of orthopaedic surgeons and are interested in protecting the integrity of our profession.”
Dr. Butler was also impressed with the number of high-profile individuals who attended the reception and who complimented the OGR for its work on behalf of AAOS members.
“The success of this reception speaks directly to the effective and sustained efforts of our AAOS leadership to have our voices heard in the halls of Congress,” he said. “Literally, every other hand that I shook belonged to a legislator. The opportunity to have extended conversations with several representatives in Congress and present our perspectives on the many significant issues in health care is truly rare.”
Many members of Congress who attended the event expressed their strong appreciation for the support of the AAOS Political Action Committee to their campaigns.
“AAOS has always supported my reelection efforts, and I am very grateful for that support,” said Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.). This year, Rep. Dingell and his staff were integral in inserting the custom device language into the FDA Medical Device User Fee Act.
“I hope that our members realize what their contributions make happen and how there is strength and influence with a united effort,” Dr. Butler remarked.
The success of the event confirms that the AAOS OGR has established itself as a valuable resource to policy leaders in Washington, D.C. The office plans to host similar events in the future to further expand its advocacy network and advance orthopaedic issues on Capitol Hill.
Other members of Congress who attended the event included the following: Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Francisco Canseco (R-Texas), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.).
Madeleine Lovette is the communications specialist in the AAOS office of government relations; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org