A Seat at the Table

From the American Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly in Boston.

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons User wallyg

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons User wallyg

The new president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Dr. Lori Heim, wants you to know that the AAFP is politically connected. During her presidential address at the AAFP’s annual meeting, she touted the organization’s advocacy credentials. AAFP leaders have met personally with Congressional leaders, they have testified before Congressional committees, and have even met with President Obama, she said. And the AAFP’s Political Action Committee (FamMedPAC) is growing and growing.When FamMedPAC came on the scene five years ago, it had only about 100 donors and about $72,000 in its coffers. Today, it boasts more than 3,500 donors and has raised more than $800,000 in the last election cycle, Dr. Heim said. All of this means more influence with members of Congress, or as Dr. Heim put it, there are now more members of Congress who believe in family medicine.

But don’t get too excited. Dr. Heim said the AAFP still doesn’t have the clout it would like to have on Capitol Hill. For starters, the lawyers and nurses have bigger PACs. And the AAFP won’t be issuing ultimatums that exceed its lobbying power on issues like tort reform, she said.

So is the family medicine message starting to sink in on Capitol Hill? Share your thoughts.

— Mary Ellen Schneider (Twitter @ MaryEllenNY)

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Filed under Family Medicine, health reform, Practice Trends, Primary care

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