Advocacy highlights from the AAO-HNS/F 2019 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting

June 2019 – Vol. 38, No. 5

Following the success of the third annual State OTO Society Roundtable, the AAO-HNS/F 2019 Leadership Forum & BOG Spring Meeting, held April 26-28 in Alexandria, VA, included several advocacy-related sessions in which attendees learned about the importance of making their voices heard at the state and federal levels.

First, the BOG Legislative Affairs Committee served as a platform for attendees to receive updates on the Academy’s various advocacy, political, and grassroots-related programs, including an overview of 2019 state and federal legislative priorities and a demonstration of the Academy’s new “action alert” software, which allows members to engage with federal lawmakers with just one click. Additionally, U.S. Representative Andy Harris, MD (R-MD), spoke to attendees about the current political landscape and reasons why physicians need to get involved and stay engaged in the political debate.

Many opportunities were available for members to further engage in the Academy’s advocacy programs. Thanks to the generosity of our members, ENT PAC—the Academy political action committee—raised nearly $18,000. In addition, nine new attendees volunteered to join the Academy’s State Tracker team, increasing the program to 156 volunteers, while 23 others signed up for PROJECT 535, leading to 62 percent coverage of Congress.

Following the weekend sessions, AAO-HNS physician leaders traveled to Capitol Hill on Monday, April 29, to discuss several “hot topics” in healthcare and issues important to the specialty, including:

  • Comprehensive Tobacco Control Legislation
  • Surprise billing
  • Prior authorization
  • Audiology “Direct Access” legislation

Members met with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, including the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Additionally, AAO-HNS members had productive conversations with staff from the key House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over health-related issues: The House Ways and Means Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Senate Committee Finance, and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Unable to attend the spring meeting, but interested in being an advocate for the specialty? Contact govtaffairs@entnet.org for more details. The time commitment is minimal, but the impact is immense.