Advocating for the Specialty: 11th Annual AAOMS Day on the Hill
The 11th annual AAOMS Day on the Hill was a great success! The event took place Tuesday, March 29 and Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and was supported by one of the largest numbers of attendees in recent history with 134 total guests, including 100 OMSs representing 32 states. Approximately 32 attendees were first-time participants.
The Tuesday program kicked off with a briefing on how to conduct a congressional visit in which attendees were provided with an example of what to expect during their congressional visits and the proper ways in which to advocate on behalf of AAOMS issues when on Capitol Hill.
Tuesday's program continued into the evening with a cocktail reception and then dinner at which participants heard from keynote speaker and political analyst Charlie Cook. As in past years, our members greatly enjoyed his insight and wit.
Wednesday began with a morning breakfast program that included comments from three members of Congress - Congressman Paul Gosar, D.D.S. (R-Ariz.), Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.). The morning program was rounded out with a review of the Day on the Hill goals and legislative issues presented by Bill Applegate, of Bryan Cave Strategies.
Following the morning program, AAOMS members headed to Capitol Hill for scheduled visits with roughly 120 congressional members and staffers. Attendees going on these visits were charged with three main goals: to better inform members of Congress on the scope and practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery; to initiate as well as reinforce relationships with congressional key contacts; and to advocate for the co-sponsorship/support of AAOMS's 2011 legislative priorities - antitrust reform (H.R. 1150), prevention of essential drug shortages (S. 296), the repeal of contribution limitations to Flexible Spending Accounts (H.R. 605/S. 312), medical malpractice reform (H.R. 5/S. 218), and long-term Medicare physician reimbursement (SGR) reform. Attendees were also given the option to discuss other issues of interest, such as the CARES Act, dentists as emergency responders, and taxation of medical devices.
President-elect Arthur C. Jee, DMD, and Illinois constituent Anthony M. Spina, DDS, MD also took time to present the 2011 AAOMS Legislator of the Year Award to Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). This year, Senator Kirk was chosen as the member of Congress whose health care policy leadership and support of key legislative initiatives has most furthered the goals and objectives of AAOMS and its fellows and members. Senator Kirk has supported such AAOMS issues as pay parity amongst our military colleagues and OMS physical therapy referral for Medicare.
The 2011 Day on the Hill achieved all of its intended goals. Not only did the event allow AAOMS to motivate new members to attend and participate in the political process, but it also allowed for the development of many vital connections between AAOMS members, staff, and federal legislators.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2012 Day on the Hill event, scheduled for March 28, 2012 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Photos from the 11th Annual Day on the Hill