Dr. Ramenofsky sat with two of McDermott’s staffers, one of whom sounded knowledgeable and enthused about health-care-policy issues. Although the congressman couldn’t sit in on the meeting, he knew Dr. Ramenofsky’s name and took the time to say hello.
“It was really interesting to me that these staffers wanted to hear what I had to say and learn about my experience,” Dr. Ramenofsky adds. “My views may affect how they work with their bosses to make policy changes. It was surprising to me how much my opinions mattered to them.”
After the meeting and another briefing SHM arranged with another local hospitalist, McDermott reached out to SHM. He asked for support for his proposed bill to expand protections from anti-kickback laws and regulations, to provide safe harbor protection for gainsharing, and other incentive-payment systems.
SHM responded in July with a letter of support that thanked the congressman for his efforts.2
“We look forward to working with you,” the letter ended.
Dr. Ramenofsky says he’s proud his efforts led to a working relationship between his professional society and his local legislator. He says he’s looking forward to participating in future Hill Day activities and acting as a local liaison for SHM.
He laments that he has not received much post-meeting feedback from his discussions with the senators’ offices, but says he understands how busy politicians are. And a 1-for-3 showing is pretty good, given his status as a political novice.
“Given overall public perception of Congress, I’m amazed that my visits caused one of three offices to engage in further policy discussions with SHM,” he says. “I’m encouraged to remain engaged in political activities through SHM.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.
- Society of Hospital Medicine. Letter to Congress members. Society of Hospital Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hospitalmedicine.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Letters_to_Congress_and_ Regulatory_Agencies&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=33169. Accessed July 15, 2013.
- Society of Hospital Medicine. Letter to Congressman Jim McDermott. Society of Hospital Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hospitalmedicine.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Letters_to_Congress_and_Regulatory_Agencies&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=34169. Accessed July 15, 2013.