Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Now that I've had the opportunity to discuss the election results with Council, with the Health Policy Executive Committee, and with many other members, I want to update you on SGIM's plans and priorities going forward.
SGIM will continue to promote goals consistent with our mission, and to advocate for policies and programs that foster social responsibility in health, healthcare, and diversity. We will be particularly focusing our efforts and advocacy on preserving and promoting universal access to healthcare as we anticipate attempts will be made to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act in early 2017. We believe access to healthcare is a fundamental right and that keeping Americans healthy strengthens our economy, families, communities, and security.
SGIM's other high-priority areas will continue to be support for biomedical and health services research, equitable reimbursement for general internists, and adequate funding for health professions training.
SGIM is actively engaged on many fronts, including those listed below. I strongly encourage your participation:
- Hill Day in Washington will be held on March 9th and will be devoted to advocacy on the issues above. Though the number of members who can participate in DC is limited, we urge all SGIM members to engage in local Hill Day activities. We will be providing instructions on how to set up meetings with your legislators or their staff in local offices, as well as talking points, tips, and leave-behind materials for these meetings.
- The SGIM Annual Meeting will be in Washington, DC April 19-22. Although Congress will not be in session on those dates, we will be seeking opportunities for our members to meet with legislative and agency staff.
There will be a significant amount of health policy-related content at the meeting, in sessions and workshops, which have already been planned and scheduled. We are exploring options for a special symposium at the meeting to discuss the implications of the election for our patients and our mission.
- We have formed a coalition with pediatric and family medicine groups and are actively working on a shared policy agenda. See my November 2016 Forum column for more information.
- We are reaching out to many other organizations through our Washington consultants CRD Associates to be sure that SGIM participates in coalitions interested in advocating for preserving and promoting access to healthcare.
- SGIM needs to engage the next generation of health policy experts among our membership. We are offering a Leadership in Health Policy (LEAHP) program for 2017-18. The application deadline is Dec. 15th. Additional information is available at the SGIM Advocacy Website. Consider applying or urge your colleagues to do so.
We will continue to closely monitor legislation which impacts our priorities and we will be in touch with more updates, action items, and opportunities for your involvement.
We seek your active engagement, particularly in creating local Hill Day visits and in our Health Policy Subcommittees (Clinical Practice, Research, Education), which welcome new members. To get involved, please contact Francine Jetton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
With many thanks this week,
Eileen Reynolds, MD
Vice Chair, Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center