February 14, 2014

Be an Advocate: Participate in Liver Capitol Hill Day, March 26

By Erika Miller, Cavarocchi – Ruscio – Dennis Associates, Consultants to AASLD

Reports from Washington may be making you question what is in store for your research, your patients, and your practice. The NIH budget may have received a temporary reprieve, but promoting the Institute’s growth is a priority during the continuing debates on the fiscal health of this country. Your patients are providing conflicting reports on what the Affordable Care Act means to them, and at the same time, you may be struggling with meeting the Medicare quality reporting requirements that will impact your reimbursement.

March 26, 2014 marks the Seventh Annual Liver Capitol Hill Day sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. With the state of affairs in Washington, DC, if there was ever a year in which you need to participate in Liver Capitol Hill Day, 2014 is that year. You will have the opportunity to address these issues and their impact on your patients and your practice directly with the members of Congress and staff.

Any decisions Congress makes will impact the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your patients’ access to health care services, and other programs of importance to you and AASLD. Your expertise is a vital part of these discussions. If you do not educate Congress on how these programs impact the study and treatment of liver disease, no one else will.

AASLD will provide all the tools you need to succeed on Liver Capitol Hill Day. The Public Policy Committee will develop an agenda and meetings with Members of the House and Senate and their staffs will be scheduled for you. You will be supplied with information in advance on process, topics, and who you will be meeting with, so you will be fully briefed on both the issues and the process. AASLD will be creating a Liver Capitol Hill Day website that will include information about the issues you will cover and what to expect during your meetings.

The morning of Liver Capitol Hill Day you will attend a breakfast briefing at which all of the issues you will be bringing to the Hill will be discussed and information to leave behind during your Congressional visits that will summarize the issues will be provided. This information will also be available in advance on the website.

What makes your participation critical is that you know firsthand how liver disease impacts constituents in the member’s state or district. We hope that this visit is the start of an ongoing relationship with the offices, which will require follow up on your part. We will also be providing tips on how to best follow up and remain in contact with those whom you meet.

AASLD members are encouraged to invite a patient to come along if they’d like; the combination of physician and patient is a very powerful one on Capitol Hill. In addition, we have invited patient advocacy groups, including the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, the Hepatitis B Foundation, and the American Liver Foundation, to participate in the event.

To make this day work we need to know your plans by February 21. To participate, contact Greg Bologna at AASLD at 703-299-9766 or gbologna@aasld.org.


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