Legislative activities update
Thomas Westover, MD, District III legislative chair
The Congressional Leadership Conference was held March 2–4 in Washington, DC. More than 400 physicians attended the conference from all 50 states. ACOG subsidizes a substantial number of Junior Fellows to attend the conference as they will be our future leaders. District III hosts a dinner meeting at the conference, which fosters discussion of state legislation and development of valuable personal relationships among section members.
The conference began with a series of inspiring lectures by various ACOG leaders, including ACOG President Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, and Lucia DiVenere, ACOG officer of government and political affairs, who reviewed the vital role that ACOG plays in advocating for the advancement of women’s health.
This year, attendees lobbied members of Congress to:
- Repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate and create a value-based payment system that rewards high-quality care
- Create a medical liability reform process that involves the use of clinical practice guidelines and an independent physician panel to assess the quality of care during the evaluation of a medical liability case. The purpose of this process is to promote adherence to quality guidelines (acknowledging that non-adherence does not equate to adverse outcomes), reduce the prevalence and costs of defensive medicine, and help eliminate frivolous lawsuits
- Provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a funding stream to create surveillance and research initiatives regarding the incidence, prevention, and adverse outcomes associated with gestational diabetes mellitus
- Study physician manpower shortages in the US, fund 15,000 additional residency slots in the next five years, and ensure that allocated medical education dollars are actually spent on medical education
The theme of the meeting, “Spotlight on the Center: Every Woman, Every Time,” sought to highlight the importance of advocating for women’s health issues and the fact that core public health concerns transcend party politics. Presentations were given on the importance of Medicaid expansion, how to remain on message during advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill, and the importance of a healthy environment to optimize reproductive and overall health.
Various districts and sections received awards for their advocacy efforts. Donald M. Chervenak, MD, New Jersey Section vice chair, received a Most Valuable Player Award for his work with ACOG’s federal political action committee, Ob-GynPAC.