PA Physicians Discuss Telemedicine, Opioid Abuse, and More with D.C. Legislators

Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) physicians got a seat at the table in Washington, D.C. when they met with members of Congress to discuss critical health care issues affecting both the state and the nation.

Scott Shapiro, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), and PAMED Board Chair David Talenti, MD, led an aggressive group of PAMED and Alliance leaders to Washington, D.C. for a national advocacy conference and their own in-person advocacy on critical health care issues with members of Congress.

During their relatively brief, but successful visit to the nations’ capitol, the group of two dozen PAMED members, PAMED leaders, and PAMPAC Board members hosted an early morning Capitol Hill reception for members of the PA Congressional Delegation, met with their own members of Congress and their key staff to emphasize important points on health care issues, and heard national speakers present at the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference (NAC).

 Jaan Sidorov, MD, PAMED Primary Care Trustee; Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA 15th District); and Donna Rovito, Alliance legislative committee chair


Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA 5th District) and Andrew Gurman, MD, AMA president-elect 

Advocacy Highlights and Health Care Hot Topics

Speakers at the NAC covered topics ranging from the implementation of the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), the opioid epidemic, pharmaceutical pricing, and the presidential campaign. Speakers included Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt; Director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy Michael Botticelli; as well as political commentators Chuck Todd, Joe Scarborough, and Stuart Rothenberg.

The PAMED physician and Alliance members advocated on recommendations on:

  • Improving Meaningful Use
  • How to address physician concerns about electronic health records
  • Combating opioid abuse—Pennsylvania has been hit hard by the opioid abuse crisis, and PAMED is working collaboratively with the state and other stakeholders to address this crisis. Learn more at our Opioid Abuse Resource Center
  • National telemedicine legislation, and its potential benefits—On the state level, PAMED is also working to create draft legislation to address barriers to telemedicine in Pennsylvania. Learn more and get additional resources.

“The AMA National Advocacy Conference brings together physicians from across the country to meet with lawmakers and advocate for policies that will benefit patients and physicians. This collective voice has brought about significant changes in the past such as the repeal of SGR and is now being used to promote meaningful use reform and end the opioid crisis,” said attendee Alexis Smith, DO, a member of both PAMED’s Young Physician Section Governing Council and PAMPAC’s Board.

Hill Visits with Legislators: PAMED Physicians Get a Seat at the Table

PAMED sponsored the Capitol Hill reception for the PA Congressional Delegation. AMA President-Elect Andrew Gurman, MD, of Blair County joined the group for that event.

Every member of the PA Congressional Delegation was contacted through the advocacy efforts of those who attended the conference and made “hill visits” part of their schedule. Marilyn Heine, MD, a PAMED past president, attended the conference and came away feeling that connections between Pennsylvania physicians and legislators were strengthened.

“The high quality programs at the National Advocacy Conference helped better inform us about key issues. Our meetings with Members of Congress strengthen our relationships with lawmakers who impact our practice of medicine. The rapport we cultivate with our legislators enables us to more effectively advocate for physicians in Pennsylvania and the patients for whom we provide care,” said Dr. Heine.

What’s Next?

During the conference, the PA Medical Political Action Committee (PAMPAC) Board conducted its annual winter/spring meeting to review the 2016 federal and state election cycle and make plans for activities through the upcoming year. John Wright, MD, of Beaver County chairs the PAMPAC Board.