Public Policy

Hospitalists' Voices to be Heard on Capitol Hill


Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the country travel to Washington, D.C., and visit Congress. Regardless of the organizations they represent, almost all of them have one thing in common: They go to Capitol Hill with an “ask.”

Some ask for a vote on a particular piece of legislation; some request funding for their projects. Regardless, there is almost always an ask.

But hospitalists are different, according to SHM Public Policy Committee chair Ron Greeno, MD, FCCP, MHM, and committee member Brad Flansbaum, DO, MPH, SFHM. They are featured in a new video about “Hospitalists on the Hill,” SHM’s day to meet with members of Congress.

Rather than lobbying or asking for assistance, hospitalists bring solutions to the healthcare problems currently vexing communities throughout the country. By introducing the hospitalist model and its role in quality improvement (QI) to some of the most influential government figures in public health, hospitalists who make the visit to Capitol Hill help to spread some of the best practices in hospital-based healthcare and share their personal experiences at the same time.

“Every constituency that comes in is asking them for something,” Dr. Greeno says in one of the SHM-produced videos. “We don’t ask for anything. We offer. We offer our expertise. We offer to help them make better decisions than they would make otherwise.”

That contribution matters to members of Congress and their healthcare staff. Drs. Greeno and Flansbaum are “Hill Day” veterans who have seen firsthand how legislators and their staff absorb SHM’s message and materials.

“I thought that if we are leaving materials behind, that the minute we walk out of the office, it was going in the trash,” Dr. Greeno says. “That’s not what happens. They read this stuff.”

In 2013, Hospitalists on the Hill will take place May 16, the day before the official start of HM’s annual meeting at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., just a few minutes south of Washington, D.C. The agenda is ambitious, starting with a briefing about what to expect when meeting Congress members on Capitol Hill, followed by a full day of meetings with policymakers, regulators, and their staff.

“We spend our day going back and forth, from the Senate side of the Capitol to the House side of the Capitol, in and out of the office buildings, walking the halls of Congress,” Dr. Greeno says. “It’s a blast. It’s so interesting. And we’re getting a chance to sit down and deliver our message.”

For Dr. Flansbaum, it’s an opportunity to promote action in Washington.

“It really brings government to life,” he says. “You realize that, as bottlenecked as things might be sometimes, things have to get done.”

HM13 attendees can sign-up for Hospitalists on the Hill during annual-meeing registration. For more information, visit

Brendon Shank is SHM’s associate vice president of communications.

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