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ACP advocates on behalf on internists and their patients on a number of timely issues. Learn about where ACP stands on the following areas:
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As medical students, residents, fellows, and practicing
physicians, we spend our time learning medicine from textbooks,
researching new treatments at the bench, and practicing at the
bedside where we treat and counsel patients. For many of us, the
political process occurring in Washington, DC, is at best a
secondary thought-a place we feel out of our comfort zone, away
from our habitat.
As an MD/PhD student, I definitely felt more at home at the
bedside and bench side than on the Hill. For that reason, I feel
fortunate to have had a chance to participate in a month-long
health policy internship at ACP's DC Advocacy and Governmental
Affairs Office in May 2013. This unique opportunity allowed me to
learn about the legislative process and develop my advocacy skills.
Attending congressional hearings, coalition meetings, and briefings
on new health care policies from stakeholder private and
governmental agencies allowed me to understand current issues in
health care policy. Accompanying ACP DC staff on visits to lobby
for policy issue, meeting with members of congress and their aides,
and holding a medical student/associate briefing at ACP's
Leadership Day events cultivated my advocacy abilities.
The experience made me realize that as doctors dedicated to
ensuring the best possible care for our patients, we all need to
understand the political process as it relates to our ability to
perform our occupation. In reality, what happens in DC permeates
every aspect of medicine: funding for graduate medical education,
funding for essential health programs for the poor and uninsured
that determine an effective national health policy, funding for the
National Institutes of Health and the biomedical research it
supports, laws sustaining a broken medical liability system that
leads to defensive medicine and unsustainable health care costs,
and laws governing a broken payment system that at many levels
encourages procedural care over preventive care, further creating
an unsustainable health care model. Over the next few years, as the
Affordable Care Act is implemented with all its benefits and
shortcomings, we as a community have to step up and share our
vision for the optimal model of health care!
In summary, I would like to paraphrase two memorable comments
given by two congressmen. First, it is our responsibility to
advocate on behalf of our patients. Otherwise, we are destined to
be helpless and throw objects and curses at the television when we
do not agree with laws proposed in Congress. Second, as physicians
across all specialties, we need to speak with one unified voice or
risk being seen as self-interested guilds. This would hamper our
ability to champion health care reforms that would lead to
higher-quality, lower-cost care and a return to an environment that
promotes a healthier physician-patient interaction with less
bureaucracy and fewer defensive practices.
Eugene Shenderov, MD, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
ACP is accepting applications for the College's Health Policy
Internship for Resident/Fellow and Medical Student Members. This
Internship represents a unique opportunity for one Resident/Fellow
Member and one Medical Student Member to develop legislative
knowledge and advocacy skills by working directly with the
College's Washington, DC, staff and participating in ACP's annual
Leadership Day. The internship will last for 4 weeks starting April
28, 2014. The deadline for applications is October 22, 2013.
August 2013 Issue of IMpact
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