UROPAC - Summer 2020 Update
September, 3, 2020
As the summer draws to a close, we would like to provide an update on UROPAC's activity over the first eight months of the year and our goals for the rest of 2020. Please watch this short video clip of our Chair, Kevin J. Barlog, MD, sharing his thoughts on how UROPAC has delivered during COVID-19.
Earlier this year, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, UROPAC suspended its fundraising efforts out of respect for the challenges our members and their families were facing. Over the last couple of months though, our members have helped us make up some of the deficit incurred during the spring shut down. As of September 1st, 88 AACU members invested in UROPAC, for a combined total of $32,479 in contributions in 2020.
While we are still far short of our fundraising goal set at the outset of the calendar year ($100,000), we are grateful for the support we have received. The funds have allowed UROPAC to continue engaging and educating key lawmakers in Congress who are in a position to protect Urology and advance our legislative goals. If you have not yet donated to UROPAC in 2020, we encourage you to make a contribution now so that we may allocate funds to our congressional champions in tight races.
So far in 2020, UROPAC has made 26 political contributions, totaling $43,800, to federal legislators and physician candidates who are committed to supporting our legislative priorities. The distributions went to some of our long-time champions in Congress like urologist Rep. Neal Dunn, MD (R-FL), to new champions such as Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) who introduced the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act in the U.S. House, and to influential lawmakers like Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) who serves on two important committees responsible for drafting healthcare policy.
In lieu of traditional Meet & Greet events and legislator receptions, UROPAC has had to improvise by using "virtual advocacy" to engage with members of Congress. This strategy has proven to be an effective way to engage both AACU members and congressional candidates. Since March, UROPAC has hosted virtual meetings with Reps. Greg Murphy, MD (R-NC), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Andy Harris, MD (R-MD), as well as Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Pacing our efforts from last year, UROPAC members and staff have participated in 40 meetings, either in-person or via videoconference, since the beginning of 2020.
The public health crisis created by COVID-19 brought about a myriad of new concerns and challenges for urologists and all health care practitioners. UROPAC has been working to ensure that candidates understand those concerns and has advocated for policies that allow physician practices to continue providing care to their patients both during and after the pandemic.
As Congress developed multiple rounds of COVID-19 relief legislation, the AACU and UROPAC leveraged their relationships on Capitol Hill to ensure that the interests of its members were represented. Thanks in part to those efforts, Congress enacted a number of measures that benefitted our community including:
- $175 billion in funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Provider Relief Fund)
- Eligibility for physician practices to apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- Suspension of the 2% sequester cuts to Medicare payments from May through December 2020
- HHS authority to waive telehealth coverage requirements for patients during the public health emergency; plus $200 million to assist physicians with the purchase of telehealth equipment
- Principal and interest payments on federally-held student loan payments suspended through September 30, 2020
As Congress gets ready to return to Washington for its final session before the 2020 election, there is a lot at stake for both members of Congress and the interest groups that seek their support. UROPAC intends to distribute significant funds to candidates, including those in close races, between now and November 3rd in order to raise our profile and make the voice of Urology heard.
Your contribution to UROPAC now has a greater impact than at any other time of the year as many of the candidates we are supporting are locked in tight races and need all the financial support they can get. If you have the means, we welcome your support at any level.
If you have any questions regarding UROPAC, please contact our office at (847) 517-1050 or email@example.com.