The AAFP has launched a grassroots advocacy center to keep members informed and engaged in the legislative and advocacy processes and to help them take action on issues that are vitally important to the future of family medicine.
The online resource, described as a one-stop center for in-depth information and tools on grassroots advocacy for family physicians, provides information and updates on Medicare physician payment, the sustainable growth rate formula, graduate medical education, and primary care medicine training grants, among other issues. It also provides a description of congressional legislation, including measures that address obesity treatment, end-of-life coverage, and efforts to establish an expert panel within Medicare to oversee the valuation of physician services and review recommendations from external sources, such as the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee.
"The point (of the grassroots advocacy center) isn't to try to do everything; it's to do something -- one thing -- that fits into your schedule," says the advocacy Web page. "Use this resource to stay aware, engaged and involved with family medicine issues. It doesn't take much to become an advocate for family medicine -- learn more about these hot topics, and then speak out on the issues that are important to you."
The advocacy center provides links to background information and related documents as well as to prewritten letters members can send to their congressional representatives in support of one or more of the issues highlighted. The online resource also facilitates members sending their personal stories to their members of Congress.
According to the center, AAFP members can become grassroots advocates for family medicine by taking one or all of the following steps:
- learn about the issues and what you can do to have your voice heard;
- speak out on one or more topics by sending a prewritten letter or sending a letter of your own to your legislators; and
- become a key contact -- someone the AAFP can call on to visit with your representatives -- and share your knowledge and experiences to inspire change.