Over 250 ACC members gathered in Washington, D.C., last week to educate Congress about
the ACC’s important work in improving quality and promoting evidence-based care.
President Doug Weaver kicked off
the meeting and attended many Hill visits, along with other officers. Our Legislative Conference participants held nearly 250 meetings with their national
representatives to discuss the need for health system reform and incentives to
encourage the adoption of HIT. In addition,
participants communicated the importance of long-term reform to the Medicare
physician payment system. I myself was able to meet with Rep Pete Stark (D-Calif.),
Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Rep. John Dingell
(D-Mich.), Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Sen. Ken
Salazar (D-Colo.), Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-Calif.), and
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
What’s apparent to Dr.
Weaver, the ACC officers, the attendees and me is that Congress is poised to
really try to eliminate the SGR in ’09. How they will do that is uncertain, but
getting that albatross from around our necks is essential. Secondly, we are
approaching having a critical mass of congressional members who understand and
support our quality of care ideas and goals — and might therefore fund some
projects to make these ideas tangible using the NCDR. These reflections were NOT
characteristic of what we heard last year. We are having an impact.
meeting, Doug Weaver kicked off an ACC press conference and panel with Reps.
Barton and Capps to discuss how better to integrate quality into the health
system reform priorities. During this press conference, the ACC released the
results of a health care reform public opinion survey we conducted recently
using prominent DC pollster Frank Luntz. Modern Healthcare published a great
story covering the findings. View the survey results.
essence, members of Congress don’t yet support having the profession lead the
way in measuring and promoting quality (we are definitely turning that around
for ACC and STS). However, the public would support us to do that, and in particular if we
partner with trusted consumer entities like AARP and Consumers’ Union. The
public doesn’t trust Congress or insurers to lead the way.
The public is beginning to get a sense of what quality of care means (not just
great magazines in the waiting
room), and in valuing quality measurement as part of what is
The College has a set of bold plans to take health system reform
challenges/opportunities and develop actionable plans to protect members and
promote patient centered, evidence-based solutions. Our Health System Reform
priorities and the Quality First campaign are central to that.