AAPM&R held its third virtual Day on Capitol Hill on April 27, 2022. 19 AAPM&R physicians met with approximately 50 Congressional offices to discuss key priorities, including:
- advancing access to multidisciplinary care for individuals with Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC) or "Long COVID" by supporting the TREAT Long COVID Act (H.R. 7482 / S. 4015),
- streamlining prior authorization by supporting the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173 / S. 3018), and
- opposing further physician reimbursement cuts and encouraging a long-term solution to budget neutrality.
AAPM&R made a mark on Capitol Hill on all three of these issues, which have been standing priorities beyond this event. AAPM&R has worked to shine light on the Long COVID crisis since early 2021 and was a leader in drafting the TREAT Long COVID Act with Representative Pressley and Senator Duckworth. Meeting with Hill offices helped raise awareness about this recently introduced legislation. Additionally, AAPM&R has long prioritized prior authorization reform in Medicare Advantage plans and
supported the bipartisan Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act since its introduction in 2019 by advocating for it during our annual Hill event, creating grassroots campaigns, and other advocacy tactics. This bill currently has
a whopping 296 co-sponsors in the House and 30 co-sponsors in the Senate. Offices expressed support for this bill after we met with them. Finally, AAPM&R spent time educating offices on the dire state of physician reimbursement, specifically the
lack of positive updates to the Physician Fee Schedule despite inflation and rising costs of operating a medical practice. Several offices were aware of this issue and many acknowledged the need to address the issue.
AAPM&R’s transition to virtual meetings while Capitol Hill has been closed to visitors has allowed us to expand our reach and make a lasting impression to more offices. Prior to the pandemic, AAPM&R’s visits to Capitol Hill included
10-11 members of the Health Policy & Legislation (HP&L) Committee, who were able to see approximately 25 offices in a day. The virtual platform has allowed us to double our reach these past years.
“Representing our physiatrist trainees at the recent AAPM&R Hill Day was a truly rewarding experience. Whether we were promoting improvements in the quality and efficiency of rehabilitation care for our patients or discussing the needs of our fellow physicians, it was enlightening to recognize the efforts by both physician volunteers and AAPM&R staff and partners to contribute to the legislative process. While specific policy agendas will change over time, participating in events such as this Hill Day allow me, and other trainees, to feel more comfortable advocating for our field in the future at either the local or national level.”
– Dan Pierce, MD, PHiT Council Member
“AAPM&R Hill Day was an incredible and enlightening experience. I was humbled to see the Academy's advocacy efforts in action and to speak to legislative representatives as a trainee. I was left feeling inspired by the role advocacy can play in improving patient care and more confident in my ability to serve as an advocate on any level.”
– Maneesh Tiwari, MD, PHiT Council Member
“I was excited and proud to participate in the Virtual Hill Day. This was my first visit “on the Hill.” It was fun working with my AAPM&R colleagues/friends as we advocated for our patients, our communities and our specialty! I was impressed with my colleagues’ passion including how receptive and grateful all of the congressional staff members were during our meetings. I’m looking forward to volunteering again next year! Be PM&R BOLD!”
– Deborah Venesy, MD, FAAPMR, AAPM&R President
Special thank you to our Health Policy & Legislation Committee for planning this event:
- Prakash Jayabalan, MD, PhD, FAAPMR, Chair
- Richard Chang, MD MPH, FAAPMR
- Amber Clark, MD, FAAPMR
- Kemesha Delisser, MD, FAAPMR
- Kerry DeLuca, MD, FAAPMR
- Keith Foster, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPMR
- Carl Gelfius, MD, FAAPMR
- Nandita Keole, MD, FAAPMR
- James Miller, MD, FAAPMR
- Sindhu Pandit, MD, MBA, FAAPMR
- Anjali Shah, MD, FAAPMR
To learn more about our advocacy efforts, visit aapmr.org/advocacy.