Published 4/1/2013
Kristin Leighty

AAOS Cohosts Congressional Freshman Briefing

Meeting highlights physician concerns

Kristin Leighty

After the 113th Congress convened, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) cohosted briefing sessions for both the Republican and Democratic freshmen members of Congress. The sessions enabled the new lawmakers to meet representatives from 26 different physician organizations.

Freshman briefing sessions are designed to provide lawmakers with a better understanding of the issues confronting medical specialty societies. Separate briefings were held for Republican and Democratic freshman. AAOS Council on Advocacy Chair Peter J. Mandell, MD, and Advocacy Resource Committee Chair Lawrence S. Halperin, MD, attended the briefings along with staff from the AAOS office of government relations.

Collaboration and bipartisanship
Dr. Mandell served as the moderator of the Republican briefing. He emphasized the importance of collaboration and bipartisanship among lawmakers and the physician community to best address the challenges facing healthcare. Representative Greg Walden (Ore.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, expressed his hope that Congress would tackle many issues of concern to physicians—including fixing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board—during this session. He also stressed the crucial need for continued physician involvement as healthcare reform continues.

Afterward, Dr. Mandell expressed his belief that such events are an important first step in educating freshman members on how complex health issues affect patient access to high quality health care.

Dr. Halperin emphasized the importance of quickly establishing meaningful relationships with these newly elected members. “It is important to talk with the freshman early in their legislative career when they are trying to understand the nuances of healthcare delivery and legislation,” Dr. Halperin said.

He also stressed the value of grassroots efforts and relationship-building by physicians themselves. “Members of Congress want to hear from practicing physicians. They know that we bring a unique perspective to the debate and it is critical we help them understand how their legislative decisions will impact our ability to care for their constituents.”

For more information on the AAOS Legislative Key Contact Program, contact Catherine Boudreaux in the AAOS office of government relations at boudreaux@aaos.org

Kristin Leighty is manager of the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee in the AAOS office of government relations. She can be reached at leighty@aaos.org