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Congress Hears From Psychiatrist Constituents

Congress Hears From Psychiatrist Constituents


Congress Hears From Psychiatrist ConstituentsRichard Faust Advocacy Day 2011 provided 70 APA members with the opportunity to learn lobbying skills and to ply those skills in the halls of Congress. Advocacy Day brought 70 psychiatrists last month from 42 states to Washington, D.C., to learn advocacy skills and the intricacies of policies and legislation about key mental health issues. Also part of the schedule were meetings with their congressional representatives and opportunities to interact with their fellow psychiatrists. Participants conducted almost 250 Capitol Hill visits in one day, covering nearly half of Congress's 535 members. Breakout sessions for participants focused on topics such as mental health parity, Medicare scope of practice, posttraumatic stress disorder, public health funding, workforce issues, and Medicare physician payment (SGR formula). Attendees were also given talking-point handouts on several mental health policy topics, as well as a draft letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on implementation of the mental health parity law. Matthew Sturm, an associate director in APA's Department of Government Relations, told Psychiatric News that the sessions and handouts served as good preparation for the APA members' Capitol Hill visits. Bruce Hershfield, M.D., Congressman and physician Phil Gingrey, M.D.,
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