DO Day 2022 attendees advocate for loan repayment, telemedicine and more

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During the week of April 23-27, 2022, the AOA held its annual DO Day conference, which combined meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill with a hybrid health policy conference.

More than 1,000 members of the profession participated in the virtual health policy conference, which featured DOs and health policy experts who discussed leadership, advocacy and engagement.

Following this, more than 300 attendees from 42 states gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate in the in-person advocacy portion of the event and network with affiliates, students, postdoctoral fellows, and practicing physicians from their states and across the country. There, they formed delegations to discuss three very important topics with individual lawmakers and their staff.

Members of the osteopathic medical profession benefit from DO Day.

Networking

After a formal program introducing attendees to advocacy and legislative meetings, attendees attended an awards reception and dinner honoring those who have served the profession through leadership and advocacy. This allowed participants to mingle and perhaps even create a new mentor/mentee relationship to continue promoting strong advocacy values.

Winners included osteopathic students, physicians, staff, affiliates, and even congressional representatives who have championed policies that benefit members of the osteopathic profession and their patients.

Requests

On the final day of the in-person portion of the conference, attendees gathered for a group photo and then walked down Pennsylvania Ave. towards Capitol Hill. Meetings were scheduled throughout the day, and attendees participated in virtual and in-person meetings with members of Congress and their staff.

DO Day attendees pose for a group photo before heading to Capitol Hill to meet lawmakers.

Priority issues this year included stopping Medicare sequestration, supporting the CONNECT for Health Act (HR 2903/S 1512), and defending the Rural America Health Corps Act (HR 2130/S 924) .

The first demand called for congressional action to prevent the 2% reduction in Medicare sequestration over the next few months. While no bills have yet been drafted to address them, the cuts could prevent medical practices from paying for adequate personal protective equipment for staff, expanded technology to meet telemedicine requirements and other overhead increases without adequate reimbursement.

The second issue we discussed was the impact of telemedicine on patients and their families. The DO recently highlighted this issue in depth. In meetings with lawmakers, DO participants focused their discussions on HR 2903 and S 1512, the CONNECT for Health Act, which would increase access to care for Medicare beneficiaries by expanding coverage and removing restrictions for telemedicine services on a permanent basis.

DO Day attendees meet Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.).

Finally, the third request was for a bill called the Rural America Health Corps Act (HR 2130 and S 924), which the DO also recently highlighted. The legislation proposes a student loan repayment program for eligible healthcare professionals, including doctors who agree to work for five years in a rural area known to lack primary care, dental or mental health providers.

The implementation of this program would potentially be beneficial for the osteopathic profession by offering physicians the possibility of reducing their study debt and improving access to care.

The successes

After an exceptional DO day, the AOA was proud to announce that the United States Senate had unanimously passed a resolution designating April 18-24 as National Osteopathic Medicine (NOM) Week. Its passage relied in large part on the leadership of Senators Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who sponsored the resolution in an effort to highlight the important role medical students play and osteopathic doctors in the country. health care system.

Do you know if your senator was a co-sponsor? look at this listing of the co-sponsors of the NAME Week resolution.

All in all, it was a very successful DO day and it was great to see so many members of the osteopathic family come together in person to advocate for the profession and our patients! To continue this momentum, remember that you can continue to take action on important topics via the Osteopathic Advocacy Network.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

Bill addresses rural health care access, doctors’ medical school debt

CONNECTions for All: Expanding Telemedicine Coverage Beyond COVID

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