Federal Issues - Other Initiatives Archive - 2013

AACOM GR Staff Visits WVSOM; Presents to Students

On 11/12/13, AACOM Director of Government Relations Pamela Murphy, MSW, and AACOM Assistant Director of Government Relations, Mary-Lynn Bender, delivered a presentation on AACOM’s current congressional and federal advocacy efforts to the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) students. The presentation included an overview of the current federal political landscape, AACOM’s policy objectives and goals, and advocacy tips and resources for students to enhance activism efforts.

AACOM GR Staff Attend National Journal Congressional Connection Poll Event

On 10/10/13, AACOM GR staff attended an event hosted by the National Journal, entitled Congressional Connection Poll, in Washington, DC. The topics of discussion centered on the public’s attitude on the deficit and debt ceiling, and the ongoing debate over how to fix the country’s national debt. Ron Brownstein, Editorial Director of Atlantic Media, provided a presentation of recent poll results regarding this topic. Kristen Roberts, News Editor of the National Journal, moderated a related panel discussion featuring the following speakers: Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum; Dan Judy, Vice-President of North Star Opinion Research; and Guy Molyneux, Partner at Hart Research Associates. Additionally, Ron Brownstein moderated an interview featuring Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.

AACOM GR Staff Attends National Journal Event on the Future of US Health Care

On 10/3/13, AACOM GR staff attended a briefing hosted by the National Journal. The event entitled "Countdown to Transformation- A Roadmap to Health Care's Next Era - 90 Days Out" was co-sponsored by the American Medical Association and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The discussion focused on the latest updates on health care legislation and policy, as well as the impact the October 1 government shutdown has had on implementation of the health care exchange portion of the Affordable Care Act. Featured speakers included Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Michael Burgess (R-TX); Governor Steve Beshear (D-KY); and representatives from the American Hospital Association, the American College of Surgeons, and numerous other health care, insurance, and small business interest groups.

AACOM GR Staff Attend Politico Pro Health Care Briefing

On 10/1/13, AACOM GR staff attended a briefing hosted by Politico Pro entitled, “The Next Generation of Medicines – Policies and Regulations”, in Washington, DC. The briefing focused on how regulations and policy changes affect the development and access to drugs and its impact on patients. Moderated by Politico Pro reporter Brett Norman, speakers included Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA); Russell Teagarden, Senior Vice-President of the National Organization for Rare Disorders; Gillian Woollett, MA, DPhil, Senior Vice-President of Avalere Health.

AACOM GR Staff Attends MedPAC Meeting on Medicare Payment and Delivery Systems

On 9/13/13, AACOM GR staff attended the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) meeting. Topics of discussion included its June 2010 report to Congress, which covered the disconnect between Medicare’s urgent need to implement payment and care delivery innovations, and the program’s limited ability to evaluate, test, and disseminate payment and care delivery changes. Also discussed was the establishment of entities such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), launched as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which enacted dozens of initiatives to test different models of payment and delivery care reforms.

Additionally, MedPAC members were updated on several new CMMI programs currently demonstrated at the state level, including awards for episode-based payment, coordinated care organizations, patient engagement, expansion of primary care, and addressing health disparities and integration of multiple levels of care. More information regarding each innovation model can be found here:

AACOM GR Staff Attends National Journal Policy Summit

On 9/12/13, AACOM GR staff attended a policy summit hosted by the National Journal entitled, “Fiscal Fallout: What is ‘Responsible’ in Today’s Fiscal Reality?”, in Washington, DC.  The summit focused on what is currently being done in Washington to solve the long-term debt problem the U.S. economy faces. Moderated by National Journal staff members Nancy Cook, Economic and Fiscal Policy Correspondent and Kristin Roberts, News Editor, speakers included Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; G. William Hoagland, Senior Vice President of the Bipartisan Policy Center; Michael Linden, Managing Director of Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress; and Rudolph Penner, Fellow at the Urban Institute.

AACOM GR Staff Attends Obesity Congressional Workshop

On 9/12/13, the Campaign to End Obesity held a congressional workshop on Capitol Hill, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). This workshop featured representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, sports and exercise industry, medical education, and schools of public health. The panelists discussed ways to improve nutrition and obesity education in medical school curriculums, the importance of identifying barriers to current obesity treatment, and supported the introduction of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to include coverage of intensive behavioral therapy for obesity in future Medicare information handbooks, and would help provide for coordination of programs to prevent and treat obesity.

AACOM GR Staff Attends National Press Club Briefing

On 9/10/13, the National Press Club hosted Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Frieden’s address reviewed the CDC’s past role in controlling outbreaks in the U.S. and globally highlighted his past experience in and the current role of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, and reviewed the continuing need for the development of the CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection and Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks Program, which aims to use advanced molecular detection technologies to enhance infectious disease prevention and control at both a state and national level. Dr. Frieden also warned that the prior successful fights against infectious disease can lead to a sense of complacency, but that “Public health is needed more than ever, and has more potential than ever”. Congress has authorized approximately $5.4 billion to fund the CDC this year.

AACOM Staff and Leadership Attend the Robert Graham Center Primary Care Forum on Capitol Hill

On 7/16/13, AACOM staff and leadership participated in the Primary Care Forum on Capitol Hill hosted by the Robert Graham Center. This year’s forum titled, Graduate Medical Education Outcomes, focused on a research report, Toward Graduate Medical Education (GME) Accountability: Measuring the Outcomes of GME Institutions, which will be published in the September 2013 addition of Academic Medicine. Four of the study’s authors spoke at the event, including Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, faculty member at the George Washington University School of Medicine and School of Public Health. Dr. Mullan noted a number of the study’s key findings, including positive relationships between a program’s graduates entering primary care and variables such as the number of female graduates, DO graduates, and the impact on rural areas of the sponsoring program.

AACOM Staff Attend CHF Annual Congressional Briefing

On 6/20/13, the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF) held its annual spring congressional briefing, entitled “Public Health 101: Health is All Around You,” in Washington, DC, for which AACOM served as a sponsor. Established in 1970, the CHF is the oldest and largest non-profit alliance working to preserve and strengthen public health investments for all Americans. AACOM is a member of the coalition, which, together with its other affiliate organizations, represents more than 100 million patients, health care providers, public health professionals, and scientists.

The briefing featured presentations from a panel of four speakers representing and discussing their perspectives on the various intersections of public health with areas such as the military, education, public safety, and business. The purpose of the event was to garner support for and engender awareness of the importance of strengthening U.S. public health system. The speakers maintained that more innovative and cost-effective strategies toward improving public health would benefit the U.S. as a whole.  Speakers at the event included Naomi Adler, Esq., President and CEO, United Way of Westchester and Putnam; David Johnson, Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits Division, RCM&D; Jim Parsons, Director, VERA Institute for Justice Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program; and Dr. Ryung Suh, CEO, Atlas Research and faculty member, Georgetown University and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

To learn more about CHF, visit

AACOM GR Staff Attends White House briefing on ACA Implementation

On 6/18/13, AACOM GR staff attended a White House briefing on the enrollment process for uninsured Americans under the Affordable Care Act.  Speakers included, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, who discussed the importance of collaboration to reach their target audience of uninsured U.S. citizens. Although the 6-month period for enrollment begins October 1, 2013 and extends through March 1, 2014, the Administration is working alongside federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to launch an educational outreach campaign to reach the uninsured. Furthermore, has been re-launched to include additional enrollment information, and a new HHS toll-free call center has been established as part of the educational campaign.   

Institute of Medicine Holds Workshop on Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Considerations for Children and Families

On 6/10/13, AACOM GR participated in a disaster preparedness workshop focusing on the needs of children. Hosted by the Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC, the workshop sought to highlight current efforts to increase considerations for pediatric populations within federal, state, and local preparedness plans. A white paper prepared for the purposes of the meeting describes current research on “interventional resilience”: programs that aim to capitalize on the factors that allow children who have been through a disaster to continue to mature and thrive in spite of this stressor. Other topics included specific considerations for children with disabilities and capacity issues at hospitals. Additionally, several comments from the public related to the benefits of properly training medical students in disaster response.

AACOM Partners in Rally for Medical Research

Rally for Medical ResearchOn 4/8/13 AACOM Government Relations staff joined with thousands of clinical and basic science researchers, health policy leaders, physicians, medical residents, medical students, and patient-advocates outside of the historic Carnegie Library in Washington, DC to voice opposition to further budgetary cuts to scientific and medical research.  In light of sequestration’s impact on key U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, rally attendees advocated on behalf of the millions of Americans who benefit from advances in science and medical research endeavors.  In anticipation of ongoing budget negotiations in Congress, guest speakers voiced their support for continued research funding.  Speakers included U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and  Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), as well as Margaret Foti, CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research, patient-advocate, actress and breast cancer survivor Maura Tierney, and former Representative John Edward Porter of Illinois.  The event received widespread media coverage.  A webcast of the Rally and additional information regarding the supporting sponsors and key talking points can be found at

AACOM Submits Testimony on Primary Care and Physician Workforce to Senate HELP Subcommittee

AACOM recently submitted testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging on the important role osteopathic medical education plays in primary care and the physician workforce.  The HELP Subcommittee, convened by Subcommittee Chair Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), held a recent hearing entitled, “30 Million New Patients and 11 Months to Go: Who Will Provide Their Primary Care?”, which AACOM government relations staff attended.  The hearing was held to examine primary care needs in the face of expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The hearing included testimonies from the following health policy experts: Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, Professor at George Washington University School of Public Health and School of Medicine; Tess Stack Kuenning, CNS, MS, RN, Executive Director, Bi-State Primary Care Association; Toni Decklever, MA, RN, Government Affairs, Wyoming Nurses Association; Andrew Wilper, MD, MPH, Acting Chief of Medicine, VA Medical Center; Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, Professor at Princeton University; Claudia Fegan, MD, Chief Medical Office, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, IL.

A report by Senator Sanders, Primary Care Access, estimates that 57 million Americans live without ready access to primary care, outlining the current discrepancy between the primary physician supply and patient demands.  It highlights that the U.S. needs 16,000 more primary care physicians to meet today’s demand and will need 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025, and that only 7 percent of medical school graduates choose primary care practice.  Overall, policy experts echoed that major changes in medical education, physician reimbursement rates, and federal funding are necessary to meet the challenge of providing primary health care to millions of newly insured Americans under the ACA, as 30 million additional Americans are expected to gain health coverage beginning in 2014 through state-based health insurance exchanges and an expanded Medicaid program.

The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging has oversight over many issues, including: The Older Americans Act; elder abuse, neglect and scams affecting seniors; long-term care services for older Americans, community health centers, The Health Resources and Services Act, oral health, health care disparities, Alzheimer's disease, and family caregiving.

AACOM GR Staff Attends NIH NACA Meeting

On 1/30/13, AACOM GR staff attended the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) tri-annual meeting at NIH in Bethesda, MD. NACA advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Director of NIH, and the Director of the NIH National Institute of Aging (NIA) in its mission to lead a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. Convened by Council Chair Richard J. Hodes, MD, Director of NIA, the meeting provided a programmatic and fiscal overview of NIA as well as an update by the Task Force on Minority Aging Research, which spearheads one of NIA’s primary initiatives, research disparities in minority aging. The update included a review of current NIA programs on workforce diversity and health disparities research, as well as recommendations to improve study parameters and expand on mechanisms that further expand understanding of factors predicting health outcomes. Additionally, Sally Rockey, PhD, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH, provided an overview and recommendations put forth by the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director, Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce, to improve the recruitment and retention of a diverse scientific workforce.

For more information about NACA, visit
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