Hundreds of emergency physicians are gathered in Washington, DC, for the Leadership & Advocacy Conference. Today's a big day: We're starting with 2022 election updates and briefings on the key issues, and then we'll have legislative visits this afternoon.
Follow along with today's live blog below and join the conversation on social media (#LAC22).
- Sunday's recap: Check out our updates from Day 1.
- Monday's recap: Check out our highlights from Day 2.
Wednesday, May 4 | 11 a.m. ET
Building off the momentum built during Tuesday's legislative visits, ACEP and the Emergency Nurses Association hosted a press event at Capitol Hill to raise public awareness about the frequency of attacks within the emergency department and to push the Senate to move forward with the “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.”
ACEP and ENA have been longtime proponents of legislation aimed at mitigating workplace violence and strengthening criminal penalties for anyone who assaults a health care worker. The current bill– which passed the House in April 2021 and was introduced in the Senate this week–focuses on directing OSHA to require employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans focused on the safety of health care workers and patients.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., the bill’s lead sponsor, spoke during the press conference.
“Health care workers have faced unprecedented obstacles just to stay healthy and do their jobs through the pandemic, and on top of it all, they have seen senseless violence against them," Sen. Baldwin said. "It is unacceptable and we must provide basic protections and safety standards to a workforce that serves people during some of their most vulnerable times.”
ACEP speakers at the event were Aisha Terry, MD, MPH, FACEP, vice president of ACEP, and Jennifer Casaletto, MD, FACEP, president of the North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians.
Watch the Facebook Live recording of the press event.
Tuesday, May 3 | 11:00 a.m. ET
The state groups have huddled up to discuss their approaches for their upcoming meetings, and it's almost time to go.
Tuesday, May 3 | 10:30 a.m. ET
So far today we've talked about the what - what we're covering in our legislative meetings. Now, Christopher Kush from Soapbox Consulting, is covering the how - how to have an effective meeting.
"You have to choose: How are we going to use our 15 minutes?" he said.
"Your job, when you come to town, is to move our issues from the pile of important potential issues..." Mr. Kush said. "It's to move it from the pile of 10,000 potential issues to the smaller pile of the issues the offices prioritize."
Tuesday, May 3 | 10:05 a.m. ET
Big shout-out to John Corker, MD, FACEP, winner of the 911 Legislative Network Award! Dr. Corker is a young physician leader (immediate past chair of ACEP's Young Physicians Section) who is very active on ACEP's Federal Government Affairs Committee. Congrats, Dr. Corker!
PS. You can still apply for ACEP committee roles! The deadline is May 15.
Tuesday, May 3 | 9:50 a.m. ET
Today's meetings will be a short amount of time to cover some complicated topics, so Ms. Wooster asked all attendees to consider how to keep the conversations going after LAC22.
“When you go back home, we encourage you to continue the relationship with your congressional office.” Ms. Wooster said. “...Building that relationship back home can be really powerful and can feed into what’s happening on the federal level.”
Tuesday, May 3 | 9:05 a.m. ET
Now it's time to dig into the issues at hand during LAC22 this year. The three issues are focused on protecting the individual emergency physician at work, in alignment with ACEP's new strategic plan.
Laura Wooster, MPH, ACEP Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Practice Affairs, and Ryan McBride, MPP, ACEP Congressional Affairs Director, are talking through each issue with the attendees and discussing ways to guide the conversation during today's legislative meetings, depending on how the legislators have voted on these issues.
"These are complicated issues that take a lot of education," Ms. Wooster said. "Everyone needs to work together to determine the best path forward."
Attendees receive these issue papers to help provide background:
"This legislation is the groundwork for protecting emergency physicians from violent attacks. We want an enforceable standard from OSHA, and we are exploring additional protections through work with the administration," said Mr. McBride.
Ms. Wooster encouraged the audience to share their personal stories or those of their colleagues with the legislators later today because emergency medicine due process rights is not an issue many legislators are familiar with, so hearing about potential scenarios and ramifications is helpful.
Mr. McBride said that we are basically asking legislators, "Please give us the stability. We don’t like these one year patches any more than you do. We’d like to move to a system that’s more equitable."
Tuesday, May 3 | 8:45 a.m. ET
Peter Jacoby, MD, FACEP, Chair, NEMPAC Board of Trustees and Jeanne Slade, Director, NEMPAC & ACEP Grassroots Advocacy, are presenting about the NEMPAC's history, role and goals. They talked about physician candidates who are running for office, including Vermont's Niki Thran, MD, who is here at LAC22 and got a nice round of applause from fellow attendees when her candidacy was announced.
"Our [NEMPAC] giving over time reflects the makeup in Congress," Ms. Slade said.
Heading into legislative visits later today, Dr. Jacoby encouraged the audience, "We ask for your time and effort, and your story. Legislators at all levels benefit from hearing your perspective directly."
Tuesday, May 3 | 8:35 a.m. ET
Mr. Cohen, speaking to audience questions about issues that might affect the elections (Roe v. Wade, future COVID waves), he said that voter enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle could swing greatly depending on timing:
"That’s what drives most people to the polls, quite frankly - being pissed off."
Tuesday, May 3 | 8:24 a.m. ET
It's been an amazing two days, and today we are locking in on our key legislative issues. Attendees are hearing from Aaron Cohen, a partner at Capitol Counsel, who is providing a comprehensive outlook on 2022 elections and potential implications. Current projections are worth considering, but Mr. Cohen reminds us:
"There's always an October surprise... It's an eternity before the midterms."