Adventures in Lobbying - A Report from the OAPA PresidentAdventures in Lobbying
On February 25 and 26th the American Academy of Physician Assistants sponsored a day on Capitol Hill. This was a much anticipated event as a way for physician assistants to deliver a message to Congress about increasing access to health care.
This was a time for several PAs from Ohio to meet with senators and representative, experience the feel of Capitol Hill, influence PA law and policy, and enhance personal and professional growth.
The PAs who took part in the event were JP Thompson, Benin Lee, Michelle Carney, Jim Frey, Linda Davis and myself, Daniel Goodrich.
The first day was spent with members of the GARC of the AAPA developing the PA message that we would be giving to the Senators and Representatives the next day on Capitol Hill. They also gave examples of how to present ourselves and different ways to get our message across. I can say I learned a great deal and also realized what an amazing system we have good or bad that runs our country. It was a great day. The AAPA staff did a great job. It was fun and informative.
That evening we had a reception to meet and exchange ideas with fellow PAs in an informal setting while enjoying cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
The next morning we started at 7:30 a.m. with a great breakfast. We then made final preparations for the day's congressional visits, review talking points, making sure we knew how to get around Capitol Hill, and make last minute adjustments.
Well, you say, what could be so important that PAs from all over the country would come to Washington to talk to Senators and Representatives of each state?
These are the issues we tried to address:
1)Ensuring Access and Continuity of Care for Medicare Beneficiaries who receive Medical Care for PAs
2)Updating the Federal Workers' Compensation Program to Allow PAs to Diagnose and Treat Federal Employees who are injured on the Job
3)Restoring Federal Funding Support for the Public Health Service Act's (PHSA's) Health Professions Programs
4)Optimizing Patient Care in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by Elevating the PA Advisor to a Full-Time Position in the VA's Central Office
Then the fun began we visited with the offices of Sen. Voinovich, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Rep. Michael Turner and Rep. Tiberi. It took us until 5:30 p.m. and 7 to 8 miles of walking according to JP's pedometer. I cannot tell you how tired I was by the end of the day. In the middle of the day we did get a little break and we were able to get a private tour of the Capitol by one of the interns of Rep. Michael Turner. That was fantastic.
That evening we went to a closing reception and we used this time to relax, unwind and debrief from our meetings on Capitol Hill.
Well, this was our day on Capitol Hill. It was a great experience and I want to thank all the other PAs from Ohio that participated in this event. These are the kind of activities that are done every day by our National Organization that is stationed in Washington. I can say that if it wasn't for the AAPA I do not think there would even be PAs. It takes a lot of dedication time and money to pay attention to all the Government regulations that keep the PA profession alive and healthy. That is why I will always be a member of the AAPA and OAPA.
Daniel Goodrich MPAS, PA-C