By James E. Froelich, III, DO, FACOFP dist. | Past Chair and Current Member, ACOFP Federal Legislation & Advocacy Committee

Well…what about advocacy? Osteopathic family physicians are so busy with practice demands that advocating for our patients, our practices and ourselves falls far to the back of our daily routines. Despite the fact that we are impacted constantly by obstacles to efficient patient management; unfair and inadequate reimbursements; unnecessary barriers created by insurance and Medicare/Medicaid; and a whole laundry list of barriers placed before us by government and regulators, we still let advocating for our everyday practices drop to the bottom of our to-do list. We tend to leave that “to the experts.” That is where ACOFP comes in.

Some of the most essential duties of your ACOFP officers, Board members and Federal Legislation & Advocacy Committee entail having an effective presence where the laws and policies that rule our lives are made. Is there any doubt that your medical practice, patients and livelihood are touched every moment by some rule made in our nation’s capital? That is why ACOFP has a seat at the table in Washington.

Please feel confident that your ACOFP is constantly advocating for your practice rights, your patients and your wellbeing. To be especially effective as an advocate for the profession and for osteopathic family medicine in Washington, ACOFP retains the lobbying professionals of Alston & Bird (A&B). A&B’s incredibly informed, highly researched, up-to-the-minute advice and powerful lobbying relationships have thrust ACOFP into the forefront as a medical organization to be trusted, consulted and listened to on contemporary legislative initiatives, patients’ needs, challenges facing family physicians and the future directions of medicine.

ACOFP Board members and other ACOFP members are constantly participating in active policy decisions via formal written comments, in-person participation in meetings with decision-makers and one-on-one discussions with high-level policy makers and their staff. ACOFP’s president, vice president and officers meet with some of the most influential people in the nation concerning healthcare, and it makes a difference.

Additionally, the ACOFP Federal Legislation & Advocacy Committee exists to support and advocate for osteopathic family medicine. Our activities throughout the year are meant to advocate for family medicine, while—at the same time—informing Congress as to what exactly an osteopathic physician is. Those activities include participating in and recruiting members to attend DO Day on Capitol Hill, the American Osteopathic Association’s massive in-person annual lobbying activity in D.C.

The committee has also instituted letter-writing campaigns on legislative and regulatory issues, had its members appear in front of Congress to lobby issues important to family physicians, developed the organization’s list of legislative priorities and brainstormed how to impact federal legislation and policy making more effectively.

So, what about advocacy? Your ACOFP is there, doing its part for you and your practice. Are you doing yours? Here are some ways you can get involved and make your voice heard:

  1. Learn more. Overwhelmed by what’s happening in Washington? Alston & Bird hosts webinars to provide updates to members on issues most relevant to osteopathic family physicians. Our next webinar will be held next Monday, May 3, at 7 pm CT. Register now.
  2. Share your feedback. Contact ACOFP with your questions and concerns; we need to know what is important to you, the members.
  3. Volunteer. The ACOFP Call for Volunteers will open in Fall 2021. Apply to join us on this committee.
  4. Take action. Keep an eye out for ACOFP call-to-action campaigns, and send messages to your members of Congress. Then, come to Washington with us when the SARS-CoV-2 cools off and see personal lobbying in action.

We stand ready to advocate with you, for your patients and your practices. Join us.

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