Flora Sadri, DO
Advocating for Health Care and Patients
I am extremely happy to report that the AAFP Family Medicine Advocacy Summit that took place in Washington on May 23 -24 was a sold out event! It was genuinely exciting to see the turnout of over 300 doctors, residents and students gathering to storm the hill. We had two asks of the senate and 3 of the house; more specifically, health care coverage, teaching health centers graduate medical education and to engage the house in joining the Congressional primary care caucus.
In addition to meeting with our legislators, we had an opportunity to hear from the speakers representing both factions. We also heard from the AAFP FamMedPAC and I am very proud to report that the Massachusetts Chapter received the large chapter award for the most contributions to the PAC. As you are aware, FAM MED PAC was formed in 2005 and is the AAFP’s federal political action committee working diligently to help elect the right candidates to the congress who would support our ideas and initiatives. So basically, the PAC is a way for my voice and your voices to be heard. I am also delighted to report that we, the MassAFP Chapter, have started our own PAC to have all your voices heard. And yes, I am going to ask you to donate to both. In these volatile times, your contribution becomes extremely important to ensure that family medicine is adequately represented when congress addresses the long term issues such as physician payment, federal reform of medical liability laws, expansion of availability of health insurance to all, teaching health centers and many more issues. These issues impact us all and our practices in many ways. Although it is growing each year as our members recognize the importance of its presence in the congress, the AAFP PAC is still trailing in power compared to that of the orthopedic surgeons, the dermatologists and others. It is our goal to become the 5th largest PAC, which would clearly give us the visibility, representation and most of all, our catalyst for effectiveness. It is very costly to be well represented and we need to be well represented to be heard and to have the power to move our goals and objectives forward. Unfortunately, the consequences of the status quo will become far more costly for us and our patients. If every one of us gave a donation, no matter how small, we would easily have the power that surpasses those of the specialist PAC’s. If you are concerned about who receives the donations, this year, they are being strategically withheld until their viewpoint is demonstrated.
In parallel, MassAFP PAC allows the MassAFP and its members another avenue to support state legislative candidates who recognize and support family medicine by participating in the political process and raising the profile of the Mass AFP among state elected officials.
Now more than ever my patients are expressing concerns about their future and what will happen to them and their health care. I inform them that we are fighting for them and their health care rights through our provided venues. I also remind them that they have a voice each that needs to be heard; provide them with the name and phone number of their local representatives and I urge them to make that call and be heard. For some it is frightening and for others it is liberating to make that call. In my small corner of the world, I prepare my patients to mobilize in order to have their voices heard and encourage them to take an active part in their future health care.
When I took my oath as a physician, I understood that my patients came first. I’ve been practicing for some time now and the need to advocate for my patients has never been more imperative as we face the barrage of health care cuts and higher insurance premiums. I ask you to stand with me and make a difference. Together, we have an undeniable power and means to fulfil our sacred oath.
Flora Sadri, DO