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What's Keeping You From Participating in AAOE Capitol Hill Day?

Monday, August 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alyssa DelPrete, AAOE Communications
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If the thought of sitting in front of a Member of Congress and explaining your position on an issue makes you squirm, you’re not alone. So, take the advice from fellow AAOE members who have stepped out of their comfort zones to participate in hill visits in the past – and lived to tell about it!

Let their stories and experiences help erase any worries that you won’t know what to say or do, and learn how you can take the leap and be a part of the AAOE Capitol Hill Day in Washington, DC, this September.

As an AAOE Capitol Hill Day participant, you’ll receive education and training prior to your hill visit to ensure you are well prepared, and appointments will be pre-arranged. And, just say the word if you’d like to be paired with a “buddy” for hill visits rather than attend meetings alone.

By participating, you’ll have the opportunity to advocate for legislation to:

  • Delay the pending cuts to computed radiography reimbursement.
  • Repeal the ban on physician-owned hospitals.
  • Remove total hip replacements from CMS' Inpatient Only List.
  • Reform federal malpractice guidelines.

So, here's what to expect during a hill visit, as shared by fellow AAOE members.


Simply Tell Your Story During Hill Visits

AAOE members who have participated in hill visits before describe these meetings as more laid back and conversational than you might expect.

“I thought I had to be prepared with what I was going to say and how I was going to say it,” explains Jim Kidd, CMPE, Advanced Bone & Joint, as he talked about his first hill visits that were during the AAOE 2014 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

“What I have learned after the first visit is just have a conversation,” he continues. “Just talk about [the issue] and don’t get stuck on the formalities of the situation.”

Like Kidd, Sami Spencer, FACMPE, CMM, Missoula Bone & Joint and Surgery Center, showed up to her first hill meetings equipped with notes and talking points but found that the stories she shared had a bigger impact.

“[Members of Congress and their staff] are really interested to hear about how these healthcare decisions affect their constituents,” she says. “This is who votes for them, and they want to know how it’s going to affect them and affect their practice.”

Sharing a story about a patient or about a situation within your practice brings the conversation to a personal and relatable level. This can help the Member of Congress or staff person you’re speaking with better understand your point of view.


Members of Congress are People, Too

AAOE members have shared that legislators and their staff members are eager to learn more about your perspective on the issue and are receptive to your stories, so set aside any fears that your side of the story won’t be heard.

A veteran of several hill visits, Kitchi Joyce of IntraHealth Group/OrthoAtlanta, recommends being prepared to do a little education during your hill visit, too. Individuals you meet with may not be as familiar with the issue as you would expect.

“Oftentimes [the staff] are young, well-educated folks just out of college who are wanting to know about the issues and may not know everything that we know based on all of our years of experience in healthcare,” Joyce explains. There’s a lot going on in Washington, so you may need to take some time explaining the issue and describing your position.


Take the Time to Have Your Voice Heard

As a practice administrator, you’re incredibly busy. So you may be wondering why you should take time out of the office to travel to DC.  Plus, it’s easy to assume others will go who are “better at this” than you are, or that sending an email or picking up the phone to call a Member of Congress will suffice.

Visiting with your representative in person is the most effective way to share your point of view, reasons Kidd. While emails and phone calls can certainly be effective, nothing beats meeting face-to-face. Participating in a hill visit allows you to be part of the solution to issues facing healthcare.

Kidd explains that the more AAOE members who participate, the bigger the impact you’ll be able to make.

“We really should take the time to do this so we can be part of it,” he says. “We can help [Members of Congress and their staff] learn how their decisions about the law affect us and the communities they serve.”


You’re Not Alone

The resources and preparation provided for Capitol Hill Day participants will make it easy to participate and, as Joyce says, be able to “just show up and tell your story.”

“Don’t be nervous. Don’t be intimidated by it,” she adds. “It’s a fun day of meeting different people and sharing your story and your position on the issue.”

If you’re ready to tell your story, register now for AAOE’s first standalone Capitol Hill Day taking place September 11-12. The registration deadline of August 20 is quickly approaching, so save your spot today.


Questions about AAOE Hill Day should be directed to AAOE Government Affairs Manager Bradley Coffey, MA at 317-749-0629 or 

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