The Physiatrist's Advocacy Bag

Ten Things Physiatrists Can Do to Make a Difference in the Political Process

  • Organize a “Doctor for a Day” program at your state capitol through your state society. State medical societies have held similar programs, treating minor medical complaints at state capitol buildings and passing out fact sheets on various issues. This allows legislators to become more familiar with the conditions physiatrists treat, rather than just physicians’ legislative requests. State PM&R societies should consult with other “Doctor for a Day” organizers and state legislative staff, and seek legal advice on professional insurance issues surrounding this activity. 
  • Join your state PM&R society to create an infrastructure for state and federal grassroots efforts. If your state does not have a state PM&R society, contact the Academy office for help getting started. Learn more about state societies here.
  • Collaborate with your state medical societies and other specialty societies on a range of health policy issues and legislation.
  • Schedule meetings with your state legislators and your members of Congress (an investment to protect the viability of the specialty). Find your state legislators here.
  • Inspire your patients to get involved. This is especially important with current federal legislative action on health care reform.
  • Prioritize patient safety in your messages and correspondence to members of the legislature and third-party payers.
  • Stress function and quality of life as critical components of a national health care reform proposal. It is also important to emphasize that physiatrists specialize in helping people regain maximum function. 
  • Schedule a meeting with patient groups in tandem with your elected officials and explain how their decisions impact patient care.
  • Contact the AAPM&R health policy staff for assistance, and learn more about Federal Legislation.
  • Become familiar with the Academy’s Advocacy Action Center. This great member benefit and convenient lobbying “tool” facilitates your messages to members of Congress through letters and e-mails on important policies. Access the Advocacy Action Center today.