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    SCAI Advocacy at Work: The Alliance Fly-In, Washington, DC

    July 25, 2018

    SCAI members, Joseph Babb, MD, MSCAI, Andrew Goldsweig, MD, FSCAI and Binita Shah, MD, FSCAI, and SCAI staff Dawn R. Gray and Robert Bartel, participated in the Alliance of Specialty Medicine Fly-In that was held July 16–18, 2018, in Washington, DC. SCAI representatives had the opportunity to share our concerns with Congress. We suggested actions that would help our members and patients. Here are some highlights.

    Dr. Andrew Goldsweig asks Representative John K. Delaney (D-MD 06), "What role should the federal government play in funding physician education?" SCAI representatives to the Alliance of Specialty Medicine 2018 Annual Advocacy Conference advocated in support of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (HR 2267/S 1301) which will improve the nation’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) system and help to preserve access to specialty care, in addition to advocating for other bills of interest to the interventional cardiology community.


    Joseph Babb, MD, MSCAI joined up with the Tennessee constituency of the Alliance of Specialty Medicine to advocate for greater transparency and accountability of the Local Coverage Determination development process, prior authorization, step therapy and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The group also focused on passage of the “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act” (H.R. 2267/S. 1301) that would address resident physician shortages by increasing Medicare-supported GME residency slots along with other bills of high interest to interventional cardiologists and other specialists.

    Binita Shah, MD, serving as one of SCAI’s representatives at the 2018 Alliance of Specialty Medicine Annual Advocacy Conference, helped educate Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) about the success of the VA’s EHR System in regards to addressing step therapy requirements, an area the public sector is currently struggling with due to a lack of transparency and accountability by Pharmacy Benefit Managers, which the bipartisan “Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act” (H.R. 2077) hopes to address.

    Andrew Goldweig MD, FSCAI had the opportunity to meet with his federal representatives from Nebraska in a more intimate setting by attending their weekly “Welcome Breakfast” where he was able to spend time with his Senator Deb Fisher (R NE) and educate her about the unique field of interventional cardiology.

    The Alliance of Specialty Member and SCAI focused on legislative issues of high interest to the interventional cardiology community. In addition to educating legislators about the need to maintain a viable fee-for-service option and MIPs, we also spoke to the need to modernize the Stark Laws to allow physicians to work more closely with their hospitals to possibly create Advanced Alternative Payment Programs.

    A recurring theme was the need for greater transparency in coverage policy development, the prior authorization approval process, the application by insurance carriers of “step therapy.” As previously mentioned, we also spoke to the future and the need for additional Medicare-funded GME slots.

    We urge all SCAI members to engage their representatives, seeking support for the following bills:

    • Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act (H.R. 3635/S. 794)
    • Restoring the Patient’s Voice Act (H.R. 2077)
    • Electronic Prior Authorization in Medicare Part D (S. 2908)
    • USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 539)
    • Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2267/S. 1301)

    Finally, because of your continued SCAI PAC support, our members were able to speak directly to Representatives who can make the policy changes that are important to our field and to our patients. 

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