As residents, many of us do not have an interest in advocacy, but it is important. I want to shed some light on what it is and why resident involvement matters. Maybe it does not matter in the day-to-day life, but collectively it matters especially moving forward.
The political action committee (PAC) of the AAOS is the only national political action committee in Washington DC representing orthopedic surgeons before Congress. Resident involvement is crucial in strengthening the influence of the AAOS and orthopedic PAC in DC. Residents offer fresh new perspectives on the challenges we face, and our involvement sets a strong precedent.
My idea is, let those who are passionate about advocacy and policy change, etc be the ones who go to DC and move the agenda forward. Much better for someone who is passionate about it do it than someone that is not. But in order for those wanting to make a change to do what they have to do, they need support. Strength and support is in numbers. Money contributions/donations is what helps provide support. The AAOS executive committee have asked me to increase osteopathic orthopedic resident involvement in the PAC.
Some of the things that the ortho PAC addresses are federal legislation including medical liability reform, Medicare reimbursement, orthopaedic physician control of imaging services, musculoskeletal research funding. These are some of the clinical, fiscal and legal issues addressed. These are all VERY applicable to all of us as we move through residency and ultimately as attendings.
During my trip at the National Orthopedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) by the AAOS, I was able to see the work put forth by the PAC and meet with varying surgeons across the country. This was a time where a differentiation based on credentials as a DO or MD was not made. We were all united as a profession as orthopedic surgeons trying to make a change for our own betterment.
I was able to meet with Senator Toomey and Representative Casey with the Pennsylvania delegation to discuss the three main “Asks” from the AAOS for this year which is below:
- Regulatory Relief for Coordinated Care– Heavy regulations increasingly pull physicians away from patient care.
THE ASK – While the AAOS is encouraged by recent actions taken by Congress and the Administration to reduce the regulatory burden, the AAOS urges Congress to continue to look at opportunities to relieve physicians of these regulatory burdens that oftentimes hinders physicians’ abilities to provide high-quality care for their patients.
- Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (HR 1876/S 781)– AAOS believes that healthcare professionals should be able to volunteer their services during a disaster without the threat of frivolous or unfair lawsuits.
THE ASK – Support the passage of HR 1876/ S 781.
- Opioids– Congress is well aware that the United States is in the middle of an epidemic of opioid drug use, misuse, and abuse.
THE ASK – The AAOS encourages Congress to keep the AAOS priorities and positions in mind especially e-prescribing of narcotics
The orthopaedic PAC residency challenge is urging programs to have 100% involvement. Programs that get 100% involvement are recognized at the resident leadership reception at the annual meeting. Only six programs last year met this goal and were recognized. The programs were: Atlanta Medical Center program, NYU, UConn, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland and University of Puerto Rico. It would be uplifting to have osteopathic residencies amongst that group. There is more to being a resident than just doing day to day responsibilities. We have to break down barriers. We have to show ACGME and everybody else that we are just as good as anybody else. By being active and involved in the AOAO and AAOS and other avenues and opportunities, it demonstrates that osteopathic residents are multifaceted and contributing to the future of the profession.