Last Thursday, AGA brought together physician and patient advocates for our annual Advocacy Day. This marked an exciting milestone – AGA’s first in-person Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill since 2019!
Different AGA leaders led groups for their respective states, including AGA Government Affairs Chair, Rotonya Carr, for the State of Washington, and AGA President-Elect, Maria Abreu, for Florida.
In total, nearly 50 members and patient advocates from 22 total states met with House and Senate offices to educate members of Congress and their staff about policies affecting GI patient care such as prior authorization, step therapy, federal research funding and Medicare reimbursement.
GI doctors make great advocates!
Being back in-person allowed for members to share their experiences more personally and highlight how legislative and regulatory policies delay timely – and correctly prescribed – access to care for patients who need critical medical treatment for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
This year, GIs were also joined by patient advocates Amber Tresca, Aaron Blocker, Kimberly Hooks, Molly Dunham-Friel, MPH, and Karen M. Mancera Azamar in Congressional meetings.
Each of the patients shared about their experiences with chronic GI conditions with Congressional staffers and emphasized how administrative red tape related to prior authorization and step therapy have resulted in disease progression, negatively impacted quality of life, and in some cases, have even exacerbated symptoms resulting in hospitalization.
Following the Hill meetings, we were honored to present Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) with the AGA Congressional Champion Award during the Advocacy Day dinner. Congressman Payne has been one of our champions in Congress, and we are grateful to him for his work to ensure patient access and coverage of colorectal cancer screenings. We look forward to partnering with him more in the future to protect patient access to care!
The day concluded with a moonlight tour of the monuments in the nation’s capital for AGA PAC donors – a unique Washington, D.C. experience and highlight for all in attendance.
We had a day full of successful and constructive meetings with lawmakers and their staff – thank you to AGA members and patient advocates who raised their voices to fight for increased access to care for patients and participated in this important day!
Check out photos from the day below.