Rep. Kim Schrier Is Honored for Supporting Critical Health Care Issues

STS Legislator of the Year Award honors visionary leadership and outstanding achievement

WASHINGTON, DC (September 14, 2022) — Congresswoman Kim Schrier, MD (D-WA)—named Legislator of the Year by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons during a ceremony on Thursday—was recognized for her commitment to promoting health care and advancing legislation and policies that impact cardiothoracic surgeons and their patients.

“Rep. Schrier is a beacon of light for our patients and the specialty of cardiothoracic surgery,” said Joseph C. Cleveland Jr., MD, chair of the STS Council on Health Policy and Relationships. “She has sponsored key legislation to address unjust Medicare reimbursement cuts for physicians and is commended for offering thoughtful long-term policies for responsible physician payment reform. STS proudly recognizes Rep. Schrier for her dedication, commitment, and hard work to ensure that our patients have access to high-quality health care.”

Prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Schrier spent her career as a pediatrician, caring for thousands of patients and their families in the Puget Sound region in Washington. She is one of 17 physician members of Congress—13 in the US House of Representatives. First elected in 2018 and now in her second term, Rep. Schrier consistently has been a champion of reforms that lower costs and improve quality of patient care. Currently, she serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is a member of the Health Subcommittee.

“With the other physicians in the House, I share a common background that unites our perspectives, and I would say we are deeply grateful for what you do for patients,” said Rep. Schrier. “We are keenly aware that doctors are increasingly at risk for burn out. A loss of cardiothoracic surgeons and other specialists could impact patient access to high quality care. I am here standing with doctors and am honored to accept this award.” 

Notably, she was involved in efforts to halt damaging Medicare reimbursement cuts that threaten affordable access to patient care and the financial viability of cardiothoracic surgeons’ practices. Rep. Schrier sponsored the Holding Providers Harmless From Medicare Cuts During COVID–19 Act of 2020 (H.R.8702) and the Supporting Health Care Providers During the COVID–19 Pandemic Act (H.R. 6143), both of which have helped mitigate the payment cuts. 

“What we need is a permanent solution to Medicare reimbursement cuts,” she said. “Every year, the payment cuts come up, and it always is a crisis at the end of the year. I happen to think this is a good time for doctors to make their case, as we are losing physicians to retirement and resignation. This is a moment to make a play for that permanent solution, and I'm working with my committee to help.”

Rep. Schrier has supported other STS priorities and STS-backed legislation, including the Vaccines Act of 2019 (H.R.2862), Protecting American Lungs and Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2020 (H.R.2339), Improving Seniors Timely Access to Care Act of 2019 (H.R.3107), and the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R.1763). 

In addition, she joined forces with Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), to cosponsor the Meaningful Access to Federal Health Plan Claims Data Act of 2021 (H.R. 5394). This bill, if passed, would provide clinician-led clinical data registries—such as the STS National Database and STS/ACC Transcatheter Valve Therapy Registry—with meaningful access to federal health care claims data to help track patient outcomes, assess the safety and effectiveness of medical treatments, and provide necessary information to assess the long-term effectiveness of therapies.

“Patients rely on doctors to make the best evidence decisions. That evidence comes from real-world clinical data, and this is the access they need,” said Rep. Schrier.

The STS Legislator of the Year Award acknowledges a member of Congress who has made sustained and/or extraordinary efforts in promoting issues of importance to cardiothoracic surgeons and their patients through legislation, funding, or other outreach to policymakers.

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For more information, contact Jennifer Bagley at 312-202-5865 or jbagley@sts.org.

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,600 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to advance cardiothoracic surgeons’ delivery of the highest quality patient care through collaboration, education, research, and advocacy.