Public Policy Conference 2011
A letter from your Advocacy & Programs Coordinator, Emilie Higgins…
What a GREAT Experience! This years Public Policy Conference, hosted by the National Chapter of the MS Society, was held at the Alexandria Hilton March Center. Upstate NY was amongst chapters from all across the country, from Hawaii to Maine! It was a chance to meet staff and volunteer MS Activists from all corners of the country, hearing their state’s issues and the importance advocacy plays when implementing legislation.
The importance of this conference is imperative because of its impact of Federal Issues and each states direct face to face contact with their Congressmen, leaving a lasting impression with stories of personal triumph and passion.
This year’s Federal Issues were as follows: :
Medicare Neurologist Incentive: The Affordable Care Act provides a 10 percent bonus to Medicare physicians who specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine and have allowed charges for evaluation and management services that account for at least 60 percent of their total allowed charges. Neurology is the only group of physicians who are responsible for coordinating overall patient care that are left out of the incentive.
Adult Day Achievement Center Enhancement Act: MS activists will urge support of this legislation that would sustain and grow Adult Day programs by establishing a new grant program within the Administration on Aging that is specifically designed to support Adult Day programs targeting a younger population of people, such as those living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and similar diseases.
MS Research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP): MS activists have successfully advocated for a new federal funding avenue that has yielded approximately $13 million for MS research. At the PPC, MS activists requested robust appropriations for MS research in the CDMRP in Fiscal Year 2012 to the tune of $15 million .
The Upstate NY Chapter were honored that Linda and Jean Mickissick were chosen to speak on a panel presented by the PPC about the Adult Day MS Achievement Center in Rochester, NY. This center has been a model program for states across the country and as a consumer, Jean spoke to its vital role it plays in her life. We were fortunate to have Jean and her sister, Linda, accompany us to Capitol Hill to speak with their representative Congressman Louise Slaughter’s staff as well as Congressman Tom Reed and Congressman Brian Higgins. Their experience was overall a huge success! They were such a joy to have on our team of activists and I sincerely thank them for their time and positive impact.
I would also like to thank Dr. Keith Edwards, who, like me, made his first appearance in Washington DC. His effectiveness on our federal issues, to include neurologists to be recognized as general practitioners, demonstrated to be valuable to our mission. We appreciate his time and contribution to the advocacy effort and look forward to his continued commitment.
We had two returning members of our Albany Government Relations Committee offer their advocacy efforts as well, Marla Eglowstein and Sophie Rich. It was their 2nd year at the PPC which offered them recognition by other MS activists across the country as well as legislative aids at Capitol Hill!
Overall this year’s conference was a triumphant one and It was an honor to be there for the first time, representing Upstate NY alongside our Chapter President, Stephanie Mincer, advocating up and down Capitol Hill. We hope that our impact on Capitol Hill regarding our Federal issues proves to be a success as well as raises awareness of our chapter and its services across Upstate NY!
Please look on our website for further details from this year’s PPC2011.
Advocacy & Programs Coordinator