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UROPAC Discusses GME Funding and Stark Law Modernization with Key Congressional Members

Rep Brad Wenstrup, DPM R-OH and UROPAC Treasurer Amanda North, MD 2019.02.26.jpg
Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) with UROPAC Treasurer Amanda North, MD

Dr. Amanda North, treasurer of UROPAC, visited Washington D.C. with staff from AACU last week to kick-off initiatives to start building relationships with the 116th Congress.  The day was very productive and AACU laid the foundation for accomplishing many strategic endeavors and policy initiatives on Capitol Hill.

Beginning the day Dr. North and staff met with Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX-03) to advocate for Stark Law Modernization and propose a similar bill in Congress to H.R. 4206, the Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act of 2017. Stark Law Modernization is a core objective of AACU and improving these antiquated statutes would likely have bipartisan support.

Following breakfast, Urology's Advocates on Capitol Hill met with several Members of Congress and staffers. Dr. North visited the office of hometown Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) and spoke with a well-informed staff person for Congressman Espaillat (D-NY-13), whose district includes Montefiore Medical Center. That surprisingly detailed conversation covered graduate medical education ("GME") funding, and prostate cancer screening.

The next stop was a meeting with Congressman Neal Dunn, MD (R-FL-02). Being a urologist himself, Congressman Dunn took an interest in all of these issues and Dr. North enjoyed a productive conversation with him discussing potential funding sources for graduate medical education. Dr. North spoke to Congressman Dunn regarding physician shortages and how more GME programs can alleviate these pitfalls.

The group proceeded to attend a campaign lunch with Congressman Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH-02). Dr. North, who sat directly next to Dr. Wenstrup, discussed workforce issues, improving prostate cancer screening, and Stark Law Modernization. Congressman Wenstrup understood the problem of a shortage of physicians nationwide, especially urologists, and was very engaged with AACU's objectives.

Subsequent to lunch, Dr. North met with several staffers for the Senate Finance Committee for Senator Grassley (R-IA), staff for Senator Enzi (R-WY), and health staffers from Senate Minority Leader Schumer's (D-NY) office. Dr. North explained AACU and UROPAC objectives clearly and concisely, and sources believe there is broad bipartisan support for many of these goals.

The AACU and UROPAC firmly believe that by maintaining key connections on Capitol Hill, urologists can successfully pursue and achieve many policy objectives. Continuing an aggressive strategy in building relationships with key regulators, Members of Congress, Congressional staffers, and others will give urologists necessary opportunities to achieve their policy and business goals.

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