By Erica Miller, JD, Cavarocchi – Ruscio – Dennis Associates and Tamar H. Taddei, MD, FAASLD, Chair, AASLD Public Policy Committee
Mark your calendars to come to Washington, DC, on April 2 to participate in the 12th annual Liver Capitol Hill Day (LCHD)! While the news may be dominated by the partial government shutdown, Congress remains open and representatives are beginning to work on legislation that impacts biomedical research, drug prices and physician reimbursement.
The 116th Congress was sworn in earlier this month and includes 100 new members! New and returning members need to hear from you about liver disease and the issues that affect your patients and your practice. All AASLD members are invited to attend Liver Capitol Hill Day and are encouraged to bring a patient along, if possible. It is particularly powerful when a doctor and patient team meet their representatives. We hope many AASLD members will take this opportunity to connect with and educate Congress. Presenting both the patient and physician perspectives leaves a lasting impression on members of Congress and their staff. In addition to individual patients, we invite patient advocacy groups to participate in our visits on Capitol Hill Day. Participating patient groups are also invited to provide input on our “asks” of Congress. The Public Policy Committee will be finalizing our requests of legislators in the coming weeks.
Last year we had over 100 participants, and we hope to top that number this year. Participants are divided into small teams (no one goes alone!) to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill. The meetings are most often with staffers who handle health issues, but we also have meetings with elected officials. Each meeting lasts from 15 to 30 minutes, or more. Everyone will have a minimum of three meetings; most have four or five meetings.
We know that many AASLD members may feel out of their element on Capitol Hill Day. Before you let the opportunity slip away, think about the impact your expertise may have on those who make decisions that influence your patients, your practice, your research and the future of medicine and medical education. Coming to Capitol Hill allows you to impart your experience and your knowledge. Bring your passion for patient care, teaching, and research to inspire your Congressional representatives and their staff to learn more about liver disease and to take the information we leave behind to change policy. At the end of the day, words we hear most often from AASLD members and their patients are “fun,” “interesting,” “inspiring” and “see you again next year!”
Registration for Liver Capitol Hill Day is open. To join your fellow liver advocates, please contact Greg Bologna at email@example.com. We promise a fulfilling day to those of you brave and passionate enough to step out of your comfort zones and stand up for liver disease. We look forward to seeing you on April 2!