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 Government Affairs Newsletter, July 2012

  • Congress adopts bill addressing drug shortages, antibiotic development
  • What’s next for physicians after Affordable Care Act ruling
  • Healthcare Decision One Week Later: Analysis and Implications for Providers
  • Medical Boards Step Up Disciplinary Actions
  • Hosting a Political Event - By Bruce Leslie, MD Newton, MA
Congress adopts bill addressing drug shortages, antibiotic development - from AMA
Bipartisan legislation sent last week to President Obama for his signature would pave the way for important improvements that would help address the nation's drug shortage problems. Obama is expected to sign the bill.  While the focus of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act is on authorizing the fees drugmakers and medical device manufacturers pay the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the AMA worked with Congress to strengthen other instrumental provisions in the final bill. Read more.
 
What’s next for physicians after Affordable Care Act ruling - from AMA
For physicians and other health professionals, the high court ruling means they can move full speed ahead on preparing for the law’s provisions. This includes getting ready for the accountable care organizations that are expected to help coordinate care for the newly insured, said Larry Vernaglia. He’s an attorney and chair of Foley & Lardner LLP’s health care industry team in Boston.  "For a lot of providers, it means they can continue to develop the business plans they were developing or were postponing" because of the impending court decision, he said. "Now everybody is able to get down to work on running their businesses knowing that health reform is here to stay."  Read more.

 

Healthcare Decision One Week Later: Analysis and Implications for Providers - from Becker's Hospital Review
Now that the dust has somewhat settled after the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it's worth considering why the law was passed in the first place, and what will happen next for hospitals and providers.  Ken Perez, director of healthcare policy and senior vice president of marketing at MedeAnalytics, recently led a webinar discussing the build up to the Court's decision, as well as the implications of the ruling for providers.  Read more.
 
Medical Boards Step Up Disciplinary Actions -from HealthLeaders Media
The number of bad doctors who were punished by their state medical boards increased 6.8% between 2010 and 2011, with significant increases in high population states such as Florida, California, Ohio and Texas, according to the latest annual summary from the Federation of State Medical Boards.  The number of disciplinary actions of all types rose from 5,652 to 6,025. These actions include the most severe penalties, in which a physician loses the license to practice or loses certain privileges, to less severe or "non-prejudicial" actions or public reprimands.  Read more.

 

Hosting a Political Event
by Bruce M. Leslie, MD, Newton, MA
Chair, Government Affairs Committee 

If you have an interest in politics and want to establish a relationship or dialogue with your local, state and/or federal elected representative consider hosting a political fundraiser. It is not as hard as you might think. Since all politicians need to raise money, they almost always have someone on their staff that will help. If you need guidance the ASSH Government Affairs Committee will help. Contact Sarah Meyer Hughes, smeyerhughes@assh.org, at the ASSH central office. Our goal is to make the ASSH a more effective advocate for hand surgery.
 
STEP 1:
Get more people involved then just yourself. The more people you have involved, the more satisfying the event. Create a steering committee. You do not need more than 3 to 6 people.
 
STEP 2:
Most state orthopaedic associations work with a lobbyist. The lobbyist will know whom in your local government to contact if you are interested in hosting a fundraiser for a local or state politician. Some state organizations also have a PAC that may contribute money to the local event. If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser for a Member of Congress you should also contact Kristin Leighty at the Orthopaedic PAC, leighty@aaos.org. As an incentive, the Orthopaedic PAC will frequently contribute a check to your fundraising event.  If you are not an orthopedic surgeon you may find that your national organization has a comparable staff office.
 
STEP 3:
Once you have made contact with the campaign, work with them to find a date, time and location that will work for everybody. Local and State politicians are generally available throughout the week. Members of Congress are generally available for local events Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
 
STEP 4:
Remember you may be looking at this as an opportunity to get to know the politician and perhaps express your viewpoint, but the politician and his/her staff are looking at this as a fundraiser. They will want to know how much money can be raised. Be realistic. There is no set amount but know that Members of Congress are looking to raise more money than local and state politicians. $100 or $200 contributions may be fine at the state and local level, but $500 to $1000 contributions are more the norm at the federal level. Discuss up front with the campaign what the expectations are and how much money is going to be raised.
 
STEP 5:
Start contacting people who you think would and should attend. This is where your steering committee will be of great assistance. Knowing how much money the campaign staff expects to raise will give you an idea of how many people to invite.
 
STEP 6:
Start asking for money. Go up to people and tell them you are hosting an event and would like them to attend. Tell them how much money you want them to donate. This is the hard part, but it is not that hard. People really will contribute to a politician if you give them a reason. One or two sentences is all that is needed to explain why you are asking the person to attend and why you need them to contribute. As a general rule the contribution should be a personal check. The campaign will tell you how to endorse the check. Some campaigns will take contributions from a personal credit card, but you want to be careful about letting people donate with a credit card. Credit card contributions are much harder to monitor than personal checks.
 
STEP 7:
Work with the campaign to develop and distribute an invitation. The invitation must be paid for by the campaign. Once the invitation is finalized, you and your steering committee will mail it out. Invitations should go out 4 to 6 weeks before the event. Remember that when hosting an event, you should never expect everyone to attend. If you want 50 guests, your invitee list should be 100 or more. Email is also an effective tool to get the invitation to a larger viewership.
 
STEP 8:
After the invitations are sent out you should follow up with personal conversations and/or phone calls. Your goal is to get the check you were pledged. Campaigns will keep you informed of credit card donations, but do not depend on credit card donations; people tend to forget to make a credit card donation. It is far better to keep reminding people to just give you a check. People will give you the check just to stop you from reminding them.  Do not let your contact tell you they will bring the check to the event. Very few people carry personal checks so it is easy for someone to come to the event and forget to bring their checkbook. If at all possible get the check beforehand. Stay in contact with the campaign staff throughout this process and give them updates on the number of attendees and amounts raised.
 
STEP 9:
Find a venue. It can be someone’s house, a public meeting space or a private club. It is a good idea to have food and drinks available. You do not need to spend a lot of money. Many times the campaign committee will pay for the space and/or food. Talk to the campaign committee, they will tell you what they can legally pay for and how they usually do it. Sometimes the campaign will pay a percentage of the money collected. If the campaign does not want to pay it may be better to consider the amount you spend for the space and refreshments as a "contribution in kind."
 
STEP 10:
Before the event, work with the campaign to make sure that there is someone to register guests, collect the checks, and write nametags. The campaign staff will frequently assume this role. Somewhere there should be a sign that acknowledges the steering committee; this does not need to list the names of the steering committee, but it should say the organization. As the host, plan to say a few words of introduction about the candidate and thank all those involved for their help. The candidate will then step forward and make their comments. After the candidate has spoken he or she will then mingle and start talking to individuals and groups. You don’t have to take them around unless you want to. Politicians know how to mingle. If they expect to get elected they will have mastered this social skill.
 
STEP 11:
Bring a camera. Even better, invite a photographer. People always like having their picture taken with the invited guest. If the campaign forgets to bring a photographer, you will be prepared. Politicians are used to posing for the camera and will probably help giving everyone a chance to get their picture taken. If you are going to take pictures, have someone write down the names of those who posed in each picture, so you can send it to them later. This should be easy as everyone will have a nametag. The job can frequently be assigned to a child that has tagged along.
 
STEP 12:
After the event, follow up on any pledged checks and provide the campaign with the final attendance list and any other information you collected. Send a thank you note to all those who helped make the event possible. If pictures were taken be sure to make them available to anyone who wants them.
 
STEP 13:
Consider this part the payback. When the time next comes to meet with the politician remind the office that you hosted a fundraiser on such-and-such a date. You can be assured that your fundraising efforts will be remembered. You can also be assured that if it is at all possible the politician will try and meet with you and your group. Remember, however, that just because you raised money does not mean the politician will necessarily agree with all of your positions. There are many sides to an issue and a good politician will try to look at all sides before drawing a conclusion. Your fundraising efforts will, however, give you access to the politician and his/her staff. You should use that access wisely.