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North Dakota Governor's Newsletter June 2019
Fadel Nammour, MD, FACP, ACP Governor
Leadership day is the college's annual two-day advocacy event in Washington, DC that enables ACP members from across the country to bring internal medicine issues to our lawmakers. Participants receive a comprehensive orientation and briefing on ACP's top legislative priorities and then have an opportunity to meet with legislators and the staff on Capitol Hill.
The advocacy agenda is determined each calendar year by the ACP governmental affairs staff and management with the support of ACP policy committees and governance based on numerous factors including:
- the legislative environment for that calendar year and which policy issues might be ripe for congressional consideration and action,
- the extent to which ACP has sufficient policy to inform and justify a given advocacy position,
- what advocacy priorities had been accomplished the prior year or need further attention in the current year,
- whether or not ACP has the expertise or ability to effectively influence policy reform on a given issue,
- the degree to which a given issue may have bipartisan support within Congress.
2019 ACP top policy issues:
- The high cost of prescription drugs (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/3.pdf)
- The epidemic of firearms-related injury and death (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/4.pdf)
- Fund federal workforce, medical and health services research, public health initiatives (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/5.pdf)
- Physician payment under medicare (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/6.pdf)
- Expand coverage and stabilize the insurance market (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/7.pdf)
- Reduce unnecessary administrative tasks on physicians and patients (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/8.pdf)
- Healthy women and families (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/9.pdf)
- Medical education training and debt (https://www.acpservices.org/sites/default/files/shared/documents/leadership-day/19/priority-issues/10.pdf)
Stephanie Melquist and I had the opportunity to meet with the ND congressional delegation in Washington, DC. We were able to present ACP priority bills and issues to Daniel Auger from Senator Hoeven's office, to Bree Vculek from Senator Cramer's and to Connor Crowley from Representative Kelly Armstrong.
Senator Cramer agreed to become a cosponsor to the Reforming Evergreening and Manipulation that Extends Drug Years, REMEDY ACT (S. 1209) after our discussion to help “stemming the escalating cost of prescription drugs.”
Dr. Stephanie Melquist at Leadership Day
(Photo: Dr. Stephanie Melquist and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy)
I had the great pleasure of accompanying Dr. Nammour to the ACP Leadership Day on Capitol Hill in May. This conference is a two day event where medical students, residents and ACP members meet our senators and members of congress to advocate for our patients. We do this by asking our state leaders to support critical pieces of legislation or work to develop bills that will ultimately lead to improving the lives of our patients.
The first day was spent learning about the current policy issues that the college is focusing on addressing not limited to the high cost of prescription drugs, reducing unnecessary administrative tasks, the fire-arms epidemic and others. We heard from HHS and CMS executives on initiatives being put forth to help reduce administrative burden, physician payment model initiatives and health IT changes being proposed. Congressional committee staff joined us for a panel discussion to talk about the latest positions held by legislators and proposed bills to help make some of these changes.
Day two came early and after opening remarks from Illinois congresswoman Jan Shakowsky, we heard words of wisdom from former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about the importance of being advocates for our patients to improve health for all. Next, we headed to Capitol Hill and met with staff of Senators Kramer and Hoeven and Representative Armstrong to push for support of increasing funding for more primary care residency training positions, helping to relieve debt burden amongst residents, policies to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and ensuring the viability of the individual insurance market in North Dakota.
What inspired me most about attending this conference was the number of internists, residents and future internal medicine doctors who came to advocate for their patients and future patients. Moreover, our leaders need our expertise to vote and act on health policy, and desire our input. This is motivating to know that our voice can help our patients if we only show up and ask our lawmakers for support. I encourage anyone interested in learning more about health policy and getting involved at the national level to consider attending Leadership Day in the future, and advocating for North Dakota.
Dr. Stephanie Melquist
Internal Medicine Resident Physician, PGY1
Fargo Marathon 2019
Thank you to ACP member Dr. Siddharth Singhal for volunteering at the medical tent for the Fargo Marathon! Congratulations to Carla Mosser - ND Chapter Staff - for finishing the 10k race and to everyone else that participated in the Marathon events and we look forward to this fun event next year.