Be the change: Opportunities abound for urologist advocacy

January 1, 2013

After dozens of false starts and temporary "fixes," policymakers and pundits predict that in 2013, Congress will finally resolve many of the issues causing instability and uncertainty in the urologic community.

This article is part of an ongoing series from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU), based on a partnership between the AACU and Urology Times. Articles are designed to provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions about topics for future articles. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or info@aacuweb.org for more information.

After dozens of false starts and temporary "fixes," policymakers and pundits predict that in 2013, Congress will finally resolve many of the issues causing instability and uncertainty in the urologic community.

From restructuring Medicare payments to medical liability reform to funding for graduate medical education, the terms of any agreement will take shape in various venues. Certainly, many deals will be negotiated far from public view, influenced only by those with the deepest pockets. It is not naïve to suggest, however, that individuals and small bands of advocates can similarly sway outcomes without "being in the room."

Various tools to empower urologists and inspire action have already been deployed by the AACU and other organizations representing physicians. There’s never a bad time to donate to UROPAC, for one. Membership in UROPAC amplifies your singular voice to elect candidates who understand, respect, and support the role urology plays in our health care system. Writing to your member of Congress is a time-honored method to impact deliberations on the future of Medicare, practice environment, and the physician work force.

It’s incredibly simple, too. The AACU always includes a draft letter to send via email in the grassroots mobilization campaigns deployed online, thereby freeing respondents from researching the issue and what to say. These campaigns are carefully coordinated to ensure that members’ time is not wasted.

Rising to a higher level of engagement, urologists from around the country are preparing to travel to the March 10-12, 2013 AACU-AUA Urology Joint Advocacy Conference in Washington. A day and a half of engaging and informative socioeconomic sessions will be capped with Hill visits. In meetings with elected officials and influential staffers, your colleagues will step out of their comfort zone to protect and improve the urologic community. They will consult and share urology’s joint advocacy priorities:

  • Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
  • Increase federal support for urologic residency training programs.
  • Protect Medicare patient access to high-quality urologic care.
  • Establish a National Commission on Urotrauma.
  • Improve U.S. Preventive Services Task Force processes and recommendations.

Learn more about the 2013 Urology Joint Advocacy Conference at www.uropac.org.

No urologist should be overwhelmed or dejected when it comes to public policies and government processes. The AACU and similar professional associations will support your advocacy outreach, whatever your time commitment or level of experience.

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