STS News, Fall 2022 — More than 50 cardiothoracic surgeons, residents, and medical students participated in the Society’s first in-person Advocacy Conference since 2019. STS members met with lawmakers to discuss several key issues of critical importance to STS members and their patients.
“The Advocacy Conference is really important for each and every one of us in STS—to get together with colleagues and discuss what is really important in our specialty and, more importantly, for our patients, so that we can make health care better,” said Patrick T. Roughneen, MD, from UT Health Houston McGovern Medical School. “We are here together to talk with members of Congress, and they are very receptive to our voice.”
Participants connected with several legislative decision makers during the conference. In addition, STS President John H. Calhoon, MD, presented Rep. Kim Schrier, MD (D-WA), with the STS Legislator of the Year Award. Rep. Schrier discussed the physician workforce shortage and her continued efforts to help stall physician Medicare 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.”
STS members also heard from Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), a cardiothoracic surgeon, and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-IA), an ophthalmologist, who provided perspective about the current Congress and its focus for the remainder of 2022.
Reps. Bucshon and Miller-Meeks emphasized the importance of surgeon participation in advocacy and answered questions from participants. They explained their roles in temporarily halting Medicare reimbursement cuts for surgeons this year and their hopes to work with health care providers on a more permanent solution. Rep. Bucshon also discussed the bill he cosponsored with Rep. Schrier that would help registries like the STS National Database to facilitate innovation and quality improvement.