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American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Advocating for the Specialty: 13th Annual AAOMS Day on the Hill

Advocating for the Specialty: 13th Annual AAOMS Day on the Hill

The 13th annual AAOMS Day on the Hill took place Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. The event was supported by approximately 145 OMSs and guests, representing 31 states. Nearly 30 attendees were either first-time participants or had not been to the event in at least five years.

Tuesday’s program started with a late afternoon session that included a “mock congressional meeting” conducted by AAOMS staff and chair of the AAOMS Committee on Governmental Affairs, Dr. Gary Dwight, to illustrate for attendees how to conduct congressional a proper visit and what to expect during such a visit. Following the mock meeting presentation, AAOMS’s Washington lobbyists, Bill Applegate and Chris Rorick of Bryan Cave, LLP gave an in-depth explanation of and answered questions by participants on AAOMS’s priority issues.

Continuing Tuesday’s program was a cocktail reception and dinner co-hosted by AAOMS and OMSPAC, the association’s political action committee. During dinner, participants enjoyed a keynote speech by renowned political pollster and strategist Frank Luntz, PhD. During his remarks, Dr. Luntz discussed his numerous family connections to dentistry and AAOMS members enjoyed Dr. Luntz’s take on the current state of politics in Washington and the partisan gridlock that has held back many legislative efforts.

Wednesday’s program involved a morning breakfast session that featured comments from Congressmen Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as US Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), member of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Dr. Lynn Douglas Mouden, Chief Dental Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

AAOMS president Dr. Miro Pavelka presented Congressman Paulsen with AAOMS’s 2013 Legislator of the Year Award, which acknowledges a legislator who supports the specialty and acts as a leader in Congress on health care issues, in recognition of his introduction of legislation to repeal provisions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that levy a tax on medical devices and institute caps on employee contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Congressman Paulsen expressed his appreciation for his award and vowed to continue to fight to repeal the two provisions.

In addition to discussing his perspective on implementation of the ACA, Congressman Gardner also updated attendees on congressional action to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which determines Medicare physician reimbursement rates. According to Congressman Gardner, there is momentum in Congress to address the issue, but a great deal of uncertainty still looms in Congress on finding the necessary funding to pay for a long-term SGR solution.

As a supporter of the health reform law, some of Senator Hagan’s remarks were met with initial skepticism by some attendees. However, she took the opportunity to dialogue with attendees about their concerns and discuss legislative priorities that her office shares with AAOMS, including the desire to make sure that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care.

Dr. Mouden spent the majority of his time speaking to attendees about the ways in which dental issues impact and are impacted by the Medicaid program. He also gave a broad overview of CMS’s initiatives with respect to expanding access to oral health care in America.

After the morning program, AAOMS members headed to Capitol Hill for scheduled visits with roughly 150 members of Congress and/or Congressional staffers in which they sought 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 2013 legislative priorities - antitrust reform (HR 911), the repeal of the excise tax on medical devices (HR 523, S 232), the repeal of the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (HR 351/S 351), and reforming the student debt environment. Members who were unable to join their colleagues on Capitol Hill were offered the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the specialty from their respective states. AAOMS made grassroots advocacy letters available for OMSs not in Washington, DC to alert their constituent members of Congress of AAOMS priority legislative issues. This culminated in roughly 465 messages being sent to Congress from across the country.

The 2013 Day on the Hill allowed members to develop and reinforce many useful connections with federal legislators and their staff and AAOMS governmental affairs staff and Washington DC lobbyists now have several new avenues to explore when looking to advance AAOMS-supported issues.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2014 Day on the Hill event, scheduled for Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Issue Talking Points
Antitrust Reform
Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
Repeal of Medical Device Excise Tax
Reform of Student Loan Repayment
Additional Issues Card

Photos from the 13th Annual Day on the Hill

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» Read about the 2012 Day on the Hill