Interest in healthcare policy is increasing among orthopaedic surgery residents. Residents are beginning to recognize the impacts of ongoing changes in health care organization, distribution, and reimbursement on the future of the profession.
Although some orthopaedic residency programs have added business and policy discussions to formal curricula, many focus solely on the academic and physical practice of this complex surgical specialty. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) provides online resources to improve residents' health policy knowledge.
The AAOS Political Action Committee (Orthopaedic PAC) serves as the face of the orthopaedic community to politicians in Washington, D.C. It provides a voice for orthopaedic surgeons and a seat at the table when healthcare policy is being created and discussed.
The Orthopaedic PAC relies on donations from its constituents to serve its purpose. Donations can be easily made via the website (www.aaos.org/pac).
New mobile platform
At the 2016 National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC), a peer-to-peer mobile donation platform was launched. This platform not only enables individual donors to contribute, but also allows individuals to set up a personalized site and recruit colleagues to contribute as well. The mobile technology requires a single text message and enables users to enter credit card information for making donations.
Residents who had the opportunity to experiment with the technology found it easy to set up. The effort was also extremely successful. One of those residents (Dr. Christian) set up a donation page for the University of Maryland Medical Center/Shock Trauma—and achieved 100 percent participation by his fellow residents within a month! (To view the page, text "PAC3" to 71777 and follow the link provided.)
The mobile site is customizable, and donors' names, if provided, are listed and can be viewed by any of the site's users. This enables easy tracking and can serve as an additional source of pride for those who are on the list and a prod for those who haven't made it yet.
The Futures Capitol Club
The Orthopaedic PAC Capitol Club was established in 2014 as a way for the AAOS PAC to recognize individuals with a strong commitment to advocacy. Overall membership has been increasing, but few residents' budgets allowed participation.
To help recognize residents with a strong commitment to the Orthopaedic PAC, the PAC Executive Committee recently approved the Futures Capitol Club. This club is exclusively for residents and will provide them with the same benefits bestowed upon members of the Capitol Club, including the following:
- complimentary entry and drink tickets to the PAC-sponsored reception during the 2017 AAOS Annual Meeting
- Annual Meeting and NOLC ribbons signifying Futures Capital Club participation
- a group picture with the PAC luncheon keynote speaker in 2017
- invitations to Capitol Club events—such as the reception at NOLC and similar events—throughout the year
- a listing in the PAC annual report, on the PAC website, and at the PAC booth at the Annual Meeting
Residents are eligible for inclusion into the Futures Capitol Club by meeting any of the following criteria:
- $100 donation in one calendar year
- $250 in total contributions during residency
- donation of any amount to the Orthopaedic PAC for 4 years in a row during residency
- a donation of $25 and a "grand rounds" talk to the residency program about advocacy
- coordinating the donations of at least 10 other residents from the residency program to the Orthopaedic PAC (Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set this up using the program-specific mobile donation platform.)
Donations to the Orthopaedic PAC can be made by sending the text "AAOS" to 41444 and following the simple prompts. They can also be made online at www.aaos.org/PAC
Residents can also set up a donation page for their residency programs. Text "PAC" to 71777 and click the "become a fundraiser" link to get started. The fundraising "goal" is set to $1,000 but can be adjusted as necessary. Once the donation page is set up, the shareable online link can be emailed or texted to others to encourage their involvement. Results are shown in real time. Residents from the University of Maryland, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Texas Medical Branch, Penn State, University of Kentucky, and Cleveland Clinic have already created pages and are raising funds.
To learn more about the Orthopaedic PAC, to contribute, or to become an ambassador, visit www.aaos.org/pac
To build a mobile campaign page, text "PAC" to 71777. If you have any questions, contact Stacie Monroe, political affairs manager in the AAOS office of government relations, at (202) 584-4150 or email@example.com
Matthew Christian, MD, is a PGY-5 resident at the University of Maryland. Chad Krueger, MD, is the first recipient of the AAOS PAC Resident Fellowship.