On October 7, 32 NASPGHAN members gathered on Capitol Hill for the first ever NASPGHAN-wide lobby day. Armed with their professional experience, NASPGHAN members met with nearly 80 congressional offices to advocate on behalf of their patients and their profession. The lobby day took place in conjunction with the NASPGHAN Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The lobby day kicked off with a lunch of Capitol Hill at which participants heard from senior members of Congress and their efforts to require health insurance coverage of medical foods for the treatment of pediatric gastrointestinal disorders, tackle the workforce shortages of pediatric subspecialists, and increase funding for medical research.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), the lead sponsor of the NASPGHAN-endorsed legislation that would provide for the participation of pediatric subspecialists in the National Health Service Corps, addressed participants, as did Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), who is preparing to introduce legislation that would provide for the coverage of medically necessary foods. The luncheon wrapped up with an insightful discussion with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who detailed her groundbreaking legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, and its potential to advance the availability of new treatments to pediatric patients.
Amethyst Kurbegov, MD, chair of NASPGHAN’s Public Affairs & Advocacy Committee, kicked off the half-day program of advocacy education and lobbying by conveying to participants the importance of NASPGHAN member involvement in the Society’s advocacy efforts, including meeting with elected officials.
Lobby day participants reported that lawmakers overall were receptive to their requests, but the support of the entire NASPGHAN community is needed to advance causes important to the pediatric GI community.
Over the past several years, NASPGHAN has sought ways to expand its advocacy footprint in Washington. NASPGHAN is grateful to those who took the time to travel to Capitol Hill, but NASPGHAN’s advocacy efforts would benefit from the engagement of all its members.
Help NASPGHAN strengthen its voice in Washington through this advoacy portal where you can easily identify legislation of importance to your patients and practice; email targeted messages to lawmakers; and keep up to date on NASPGHAN advocacy news. This advocacy tool is user friendly, efficient and provides a simple and effective way to be heard.
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