This post comes from ACC Secretary and Board of Governors (B0G) Chair John Gordon Harold, M.D., F.A.C.C. Dr. Harold is cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and has held a number of leadership posts within the College, including as a past president of the California Chapter and immediate past governor for Southern California. As BOG Chair, Dr. Harold will champion the 2009-2010 BOG priorities, in particular focusing on state advocacy.
any given moment, states and their lawmakers are thinking about, drafting,
considering or even voting on legislation that will impact the way you practice
medicine. As a practitioner, you may never hear about these initiatives – even
though you could be directly affected.
is where your local chapter comes in. ACC chapters work together with the ACC
to pursue critical state legislative initiatives, such as maintaining access to
office-based imaging, ensuring appropriate STEMI care, championing health
advocacy and promoting public safety. The chapters and the ACC also work
closely with the Board of Governors (BOG) Steering Committee and State Advocacy
Work Group (formed by the BOG in 2008 with a mission to increase and improve
state advocacy and outreach). This group maintains regular contact with Jim Boxall at the ACC, who is a virtual
clearinghouse of information on legislative and regulatory issues and how-to
tips for expanding Chapter state advocacy programs.
these collaborations, the College is pursuing a multi-faceted policy and
legislative agenda that reflects the diverse needs and interests of members. This
agenda includes holding enhanced lobby days and “Cardiologist for a Day”
programs, improving online advocacy tools, and increasing collaboration with
the American Heart Association (AHA) and other groups.
the College, through its State Advocacy Workgroup, is working closely with six
chapters that have the staff and resources to be models for other states. Using
ACC National Funding Proposals, these chapters -- Alabama,
Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington -- will build
relationships with other medical groups and their respective state legislatures
to influence policy.
Chapter: An Example
my chapter, the California Chapter (CA-ACC), we have a history of state
legislative victories. This is because Chapter staff, in cooperation with ACC
state advocacy staff, closely monitors all legislation and actively lobbies to
defeat adverse legislation while supporting legislation to promote the quality
of cardiovascular patient care.
one particular example, Chapter leadership reached out to colleagues at the American College of Radiology through the
California Radiologic Society (CRS). The discussion revolved around a
proposed Assembly bill that could potentially limit office-based cardiac
imaging. When the bill came up, I recommended contact with CRS to see where we
could find common ground, as the stated focus of the bill was eliminating
"fraud and abuse." The inter-society discussions went well and both groups agreed to focus
on mutually acknowledged areas. Both the CA-ACC and CRS lobbyists worked
together and came to an agreement on bill language.
For other state chapter
examples, visit the ACC Chapter
ACC is only as strong as its members. You can help advocate for quality health
care—and influence health care policy—at both the state and federal level in
- Get involved with your
ACC Chapters by contacting the
Chapter Executive in your state.
- Get involved at with ACC’s grassroots efforts (www.acc.org/CAN) and help shape health care policy at the
federal, state and local levels.
- Support candidates who
understand the importance of cardiovascular care by donating to the ACC Political Action
- Attend the American College
of Cardiology’s 2009
Legislative Conference taking place Sept. 13-15 in Washington, D.C.
Take advantage of this opportunity to help educate Congress about the
needs of cardiovascular professionals and patients.
- Visit the Web site of ACC’s
health care reform campaign, Quality First,
and visit often! Here you can learn about how the ACC is working to
transform health care from the inside out, as well as the latest Quality
First news and events.
- By John Gordon Harold, M.D., F.A.C.C., Chair, ACC Board of Governors
* Dr. Harold's post is part of a monthly series of guest posts by ACC leadership. Check back next month to see which ACC leader is sharing his or her thoughts on health care reform!
*** California State House. Image from Flickr (fusionpanda). ***