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Members of SHM's Public Policy Committee traveled to Capitol Hill for their fourth annual legislative visit last week and they found congressional representatives and staff more eager than ever to listen.

"With healthcare at the forefront of what's happening [in Congress] right now, the members of congress and their staffs were particularly interested in what we had to say," says committee member Felix Aguirre, MD, vice president of medical affairs for IPC: The Hospitalist Company in San Antonio. Specifically, the 13 committee members attended 35 Capitol Hill meetings and touted support for increased access to healthcare; delivery models to improve care coordination; and changes in payment methodologies that improve quality and value of healthcare, including consideration of alternative models, such as bundling payments for select conditions in hospitalized patients and physician value-based purchasing.

"The part that was noticeable [this year] was the elevation of the level of discussions we had," says committee member Gregory Seymann, MD, a hospitalist and associate clinical professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "We are now positioned to be influential … in healthcare matters that are obviously a big priority."

One of SHM's priorities is care transitions, and the committee brought legislators’ attention to SHM's Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions), a program designed to optimize transitions from the hospital to the home.

Mark V. Williams, MD, the project’s principal investigator, joined the committee and met with staff of key congressional committees, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee; the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and the Senate Finance Committee. “I was impressed. They were all aware of the President's budget proposal to reduce rehospitalizations and understood how Project BOOST could help," Dr. Williams says. "They are excited about it and interested in data regarding its impact."

For more information about SHM’s public policy efforts, visit www.hospitalmedicine.org/Advocacy.

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