Guest post by ASH Government Relations, Practice, and Scientific Affairs.
Between presentations of cutting-edge research and sessions on emerging trends in hematology, attendees of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting last December emailed Congress and strategized ways to encourage Members of Congress to protect existing and future NIH funding and reform physician payment under Medicare.
The 2013 ASH Annual Meeting presented a vital opportunity for hematologists to mobilize on these two challenging issues facing the field and ASH’s group of member advocates, called the ASH Grassroots Network, had a strong presence at the recent annual meeting in New Orleans. During the meeting, members of the Grassroots Network gathered for a special luncheon event to learn more about ASH’s current advocacy priorities and how they could become effective advocates for the following immediate issues in Congress of critical importance to hematology:
- FY2014 budget negotiations, particularly regarding NIH funding
- A 24 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement payments to physicians, mandated by the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR)
- The February 7, 2014, deadline to raise the debt ceiling
Even though ASH was in New Orleans, members remained connected to ongoing talks in Washington, DC, and took action. For example, in response to an email advocacy action alert sent during the meeting, nearly 100 ASH members took immediate action to contact their members of Congress to share how NIH funding cuts would stymie their research.
The recent ASH annual meeting also featured an event for member physicians to discuss the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). During the event members discussed several important considerations surrounding the law, including participation in exchanges, setting payment rates, and eligibility screening and were encouraged to get involved in their state or region’s PPACA implementation.
With renewed vigor, ASH members returned home from the 2013 ASH Annual Meeting ready to continue to fight for issues of critical importance to hematology. To learn more about these issues and to take action with ASH, visit: http://hematology.org/Advocacy/.